Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2008

Pretty Woman, Anyone?

I was recently given a belated birthday gift by a retired professor in my department. Actually, I wasn't given it--I have to go retrieve it. "It" is a designer top of my choosing from an upscale ladies boutique that I've never heard of, nor have had any reason to know of, as it probably does not cater to my mainstream fashion and discount shopping sensibilities. When he told me of his intended gift while in my office one day, he encouraged me to go to this store, and told me its whereabouts, and pick out a nice top--any top I wanted, regardless of price--and just tell the clerk that he was paying for it. When I tried to refuse such a kind gift, he became very stern and repeated, "please, please." With such mannerly insistence, how could I then decline the offer? So I accepted, and agreed to go to the boutique and pick out a top of my liking regardless of price and tell the salesperson, "it's on Dr. So-and-so." When I pictured myself doing…

Walking for a Cause and Walking Away

This past weekend I participated for the second year in the American Heart Association's Start! Heart Walk 2008-09, Tampa Bay. I joined my department's team of six walkers (three of whom raised money)--pretty measly considering how large the Department of English is at USF. I was able to drag in my friend Taylor to walk and talk with me for three miles on a Saturday morning. We arrived at the Raymond James Stadium with time to spare, so we began a hunt for free coffee, which seemed at first an attainable goal. We went from corporate tent to corporate tent, spotting the big green coffee decanters brought to the event for the sole purpose of caffeinating early morning walkers, but being turned away a couple of times because we were not actually part of that corporation's team, or because we were not VIP heart walkers--whatever that meant. Taylor persisted, though, and after conversing in her friendly and unassuming way with the guard of the VIP line, we were told we could…

My Golden Year

An observant friend told me that this year is my golden year, since it is my 28th year and my birthday is on the 28th day of the month. I can find little reason to believe otherwise, as this has been one of the most special and memorable birthdays to date.

The celebration began with a family dinner at Acropolis Greek Tavern in Ybor City, honoring a trio of birthdays: Dad's, Anna's, and mine. In everyone's thoughts, as well, was Aunt Bonnie, whose birthday was the 24th. As such gatherings have become more infrequent in my adult years, I find that they have come to epitomize the true joys in life. Amidst the belly dancing, the food-igniting, the loud band-playing, and the napkin showers (they literally throw packages of perfectly good napkins all over the restaurant in random celebration), I will remember with fondness the genuine delight in simply sharing each other's company, even (and especially) if it required ineffective cross-talking and awkward seat-hopping in …

Here Comes Fall

As the summer began with a flourish of outside activity and appreciation for the climate where I live, so it exits and in its place comes fall.

Recently I attended a pool party at a faculty member's house, and as though aware that I would likely not go in a pool for many more months, I remained submerged in the pool and later the hot tub for nearly five hours, floundering in the weightlessness of the water. The truer reason I remained in the pool was because three big friendly dogs occupied the inside of the house and even the outside patio, and I was only safe from them in the water. As typically occurs, the dogs pounced on me as soon as I entered the house, somehow sensing that I was allergic to them, and after about fifteen minutes after my arrival and two attempted tongue baths therein, I made for the protection of the water, hoping the dogs could not swim.

I suppose it is fair to say that I also stayed in for so long out of fear of making an exit. As the only adult in the po…

Uncertainty

How quickly life changes. I am now living on my own again and continuing my ongoing quest for the peace and joy that I know this world has to offer. I fear sometimes I am all too content to swim around in a constant sea of uncertainty and unknowing, but I also believe this is an intrinsic part of who I am, and lately I've come to embrace it.

I was recently at a gathering with new acquaintances where one of them asked me if there was anything I decisively opposed. Apparently I had been making arguments against others' declarations of dislike--for art, for people, for poetry. I was hard-pressed to come up with an answer right then, and I sat thinking on the subject for a while, allowing the conversation to go on around me. I eventually came up with a few pet peeves, as was requested, and these included discourteous people in general, people who don't hold doors for the next passer-through, and people who talk loudly on cell phones in public places. While I'm certain…

Olympics for the rest of us

It's easy to imagine the impact the Olympic games have on the athletes (perhaps), but what do they do for the rest of us? As I sit in my living room for the ninth evening in a row and watch the most accomplished athletes in the world display their power, agility, and mental toughness, I find myself inspired to move off of the couch and onto the floor for a round of push-ups, or an attempted headstand. Sure, these are small steps in the direction of legendary greatness, which, perhaps I'll never achieve, but the point is that I've been inspired to move, and surely so have millions of other viewers world-wide. Of course, the contradiction of having to be sedentary in front of a television set in order to receive the inspiration to be active is a bit of irony not lost on me. But when I start off on my meager 2.5 mile run, and I'm feeling less than driven and under-energized, I can at least think of Lolo Jones literally overcoming her hurdles, or Dara Torres swimming p…

To myspace, or not to myspace?

I've had this dilemma for over a year now, when I decided I no longer wanted to keep my myspace account due to its time-sucking, vanity-inducing, and voyeuristic qualities. I felt I'd become addicted to viewing public profiles online--of people I both knew and didn't know, and that just felt icky. I also had developed what I considered an unhealthy fixation on maintaining my own personal profile, frequently worrying about how I was presenting myself. To a lesser degree, I also found that I was concerned about the design and layout of my page, as the myspace profile designs have become increasingly elaborate and, dare I say, competitive. As a perfectionist, I felt overwhelmed by my inability to have a perfect profile. Thus, I began my long and irksome quest to cancel my account.

Myspace allows users to cancel accounts with little hassle--that is, unless the user happens to have a nonexistent email account, as did I. When I first signed up for a myspace account, back in …

Belated Farewell

I want to express a late farewell to Tim Russert. His death shook me up when I heard about it on TV, as he's really the only political journalist and commentator that I really listened to. And this was by accident. In the days before I had cable (most of my single-living days), I would generally roll out of bed around 10am on lazy Sunday mornings, and as nothing else was on my four television channels of any interest to me, I would watch "Meet the Press." I grew fond of Tim's show and his reporting, and I made it a goal to get out of bed by 10am on Sundays so I could catch the show (not always an easy feat in those days). I found him to be relatively unbiased, or at least if he seemed biased I tended to agree with him. I trusted his reporting, and I looked to him for honest reporting and for finding, or at least searching for, the truth in politics. Perhaps there aren't really any political correspondents who are truly unbiased or who convey the complete t…

Out of Hibernation

I finally finished copyediting my first manuscript, and I've now left it in the trusty(?) hands of the postal service. I had grown very attached to the manuscript, Women, Power, and Justice in English Renaissance Drama. I think I lucked out and got a great one. I happened to be taking a Shakespeare course when I got it, so I was reading plays while also editing new criticism on them. It was pretty cool. I must say, though, it was uncomfortable at first to correct and question the writing of professors who are far more advanced in their schooling than I am; but for this same reason, I found great delight in finding errors. Is that wrong?

I learned more about grammar this past month that I think I learned throughout all of my school years. Ask me anything :) I did spend way more time on the manuscript than I "should"have, though. I could claim a minimum of eight pages per hour (with an hourly pay rate), but I probably more realistically edited six pages per hour, c…

Where did all the soul go?

To the UK, apparently. Last year it was Amy Winehouse's deep and brassy voice that entered the musical consciousnessof Americans, and made us remember that there ever was such a style as soul. Her album, Back to Black, is largely a throwback to 60's Rhythm and Blues sounds, although some songs, such as "You Know I'm No Good," are "enhanced" with modern pop beats.

I first learned about Winehouse while catching the tail end of a late night talk show one night. The now nauseating, if not still catchy, song "Rehab" was being performed by Winehouse and her male backup singers/dancers. I was instantly drawn to the song and the stage performance, and I soon thereafter purchased her album. It seems that in the next few months, the rest of America was hooked as well, and what became her anthem song, "Rehab," (in which she protests going to rehab) also made her the butt of many a joke, for the formerly stoned diva could not personally rece…

I'm an Editor!

I'm a copy editor, at least. I recently got accepted by Associated University Presses (AUP), based in New Jersey, to copy-edit manuscripts that have been accepted for publication. These are scholarly works that may or may not be interesting--I have yet to see (a list of current and recent publications can be found on the AUP web site). My first manuscript should arrive this week. I had to take an editing test, which consisted of three different parts of manuscripts sent to me in the mail. I had to line-edit them using my knowledge of the Chicago Manual of Style, a 984-page reference source that I had to quickly familiarize myself with. I agonized over these pages and later lied about the amount of time I'd spent editing them (they pay by the hour). After three grueling weeks, I found out that my editing test was "fine" (good enough for me), and that I'd soon get to take on more work. But the great thing is that I can do it totally in my own time, as long …

My Green Efforts

I've been trying to do my part lately to decrease my "carbon footprint," as they say. Here are some of my recent efforts, which you might find helpful in your own daily lives:
requested a recycling bin at our residence
We've never had one, but I noticed other houses on our street that did. Recyclables are collected alongside garbage collection, and they will pick up such things as newspapers/magazines, glass and plastic bottles/jars, aluminum cans, and more. If you do not already have a recycling bin, Tampa residents can easily request a "blue box" online at http://www.tampagov.net/appl_customer_service_center/form.asp?strServiceID=289.purchased two "green bags" for grocery shoppingLocally, versions of these bags can be purchased at most grocery stores and natural food stores. I got this one at Village Health Market, on MacDill Ave (south of Bay to Bay Blvd). I have two of them, and the two together can hold all of my weekly groceries. They…

Softball for Fun

Joe and I played in an intramural faculty/staff softball game at USF last weekend. We were in the "fun" division, rather than the competitive division, which was the only way I would join. It turns out that in the fun division, there are just as many rules and emotions involved as in competition, but far less skill.

We were fortunate to have experienced players on our team, such as Joe, who compensated for weaker players, such as myself. The rules in this particular softball game were centered around female participation. For example, either the pitcher or the catcher must be female; females must bat in the order 2, 4, 6, 8; a female can opt to take a base walk without hitting if the male hitter preceding her is walked; etc. While my instinct was to be offended (especially at the latter rule), I didn't make any great efforts to stand out as a player. In fact, Joe and I both sat out of the first four innings, until we were then subbed for two other players. I "played&…

Another 5K and Mother's Day

Last weekend I participated in the Healthy Heart Women's Classic, my second (and probably last) 5K of the season. I had originally registered to run in the Miles for Moffitt 5K at USF with Joe that same day, but he came down with a bad cold soon before the event, and Anna had already planned to participate in the Women's Classic, so I decided to run with her and Gabe, rather than by myself. I had already made my nonrefundable philanthropic contribution to Moffitt, a cancer institute associated with USF, so I figured they certainly wouldn't miss me if I didn't show.

The Women's Classic took place at Al Lopez Park, which is actually quite beautiful and filled with plenty of trees for shade. This run was significantly smaller than the last run I was in--I doubt there were more than 100 participants--and about 99% of the participants were women (way to represent, Gabe). What was most significant about this run, however, was that Anna's organization, The Ophelia …

Swing Fever

I don't have it anymore--that feverish need to consume the dance floor at every opportunity, regardless of song, of partner, of venue. I haven't had that drive in years, frankly, and while I know that there is merit in becoming a more selective dancer--in developing my own musical tastes and knowing whom I can connect with on the dance floor--I feel a sort of loss for the mindless, ravenous dancer I once was.

I remember with such fondness the many regular nights at Atlantic Dance Hall in Orlando, starting in the summer of 1999. Even though I knew hardly the first thing about swing dancing, the mere idea of it was surrounded by so much energy and enthusiasm. It's as though everyone who went out to the club simply had to dance, or else they might explode. But hardly anybody in that initial group of Atlantic dancers knew how to dance; perhaps that is what drove us all together. Erik was the exception. He was transplanted from California, where lindy hop had already been …

Play of Summer

Even though it is still technically spring time, the summer college semester begins in one week, the weather is consistently sunny and mid-80s, and baseball season is in full bloom. I embrace this time of year as a time to extend my outside activities beyond my nightly walks, to bike rides, benefit runs, beach days, and a newfound interest in softball.

Yesterday Joe and I began the day with a 7:25am 5K run to benefit the Child Abuse Council. One of Tampa's largest and most regular 5Ks, the Gunn Allen Financial May Classic brought out over 1,500 of Tampa's athletes and do-gooders. Since it was a last-minute decision for us to register, we did not have a a chance to train, but we had both been keeping a somewhat regular exercise schedule in the weeks leading up to the run. Our goal was to finish, preferably to finish running. And we did. 36 minutes of concrete pounding, rhythmic breathing, and humanistic awareness, and we had completed our first 5K together, having run the …