Monday, May 26, 2008

The Nance Quiz

Every once in a while, I read someone's blog and feel bad that I am not very share-y. Lots of bloggers write about their struggles with some pretty intimate stuff. Or, at the very least, their day-to-day battles with illness, toilet training, or divorce. Some even post their real pictures on the Interwebs whereas I post a funny picture of a cat with sunglasses. It is a real cat, but it isn't me, and it isn't even EmilyCat or the late TravisCat, neither of whom would have put up with such shenaningans. And while it is true that I do write about my actual husband and sons and career and mother and sisters and and life events every once in a while, I am far more private than many (or dare I say, most) bloggers.

Part of it stems from the fact that I am just private by nature, and part of it is due to my job as a teacher. It's just too easy for teenagers + Interwebs = disaster. And I started my blog as a way for me to keep my writing skills sharp and to practice what I preach to my students; that is, writers write. So, I didn't necessarily start it as a means for catharsis or anything like that.

Having said all of that--I decided to offer up a little bit of me in a quiz form. I do this for my students after they've made Me a Topic of Conversation--often, they find me so incredibly Mysterious that they simply cannot Go On, and this just gets it all out of their systems. By no means do I imply that this is the case with all of you: that you are all sitting Out There paralyzed with befuddlement about the minutae of My Life. Quite honestly, I'm stuck for a post, and I thought it might be fun to find out what you imagine I might be like after just having read me for the past few years!

Shall we begin?

1. Living Room: Is the place where I spend a great deal of my time decorated in--
A. Burgundy, navy, pine green. Cherry wood. Tastefully traditional, library/study decor. On the wall is a reproduction of this Vermeer painting.

B. Sand, ecru, black. Chrome and glass. Clean lines, modern/industrial decor. On the wall is a reproduction of this Mondrian painting.

C. Olive, bittersweet, dark mustard. Mahogany wood. Whimsically eclectic, blend of antique/personal touches. On the wall is a reproduction of this Rousseau painting.

2. Career: Before deciding upon teaching, I initially chose this degree path.
A. Library science
B. Veterinary medicine
C. Fashion design/marketing

3. Name: I have always hated my name. Detested it. If I could change it, I'd be named--
A. Mary
B. Emily
C. Samantha

4. Politics: True or False?
I have never voted Republican in my life, and I am damned proud of it.

5. Trivia: At the grocery store, I:
A. Sneak and eat grapes
B. Park in the handicapped slots
C. Get asked advice in the Italian Foods section

6. Preferences: I chose the color of my hybrid car, and it is:
A. Yellow
B. Red
C. Black

7. Talents: I once won second prize for my:
A. pesto
B. pond
C. poetry

8. Issues: I am fundamentally opposed to:
A. the death penalty
B. abortion
C. both a and b

9. Faults: Rick wishes I would
A. Brake sooner
B. Swear less
C. Stop snoring

10. Pet Peeves: I really dislike
A. driving, grading papers, grocery shopping
B. litterbox duty, grading papers, bedmaking
C. litterbox duty, loading dishwasher, folding clothes

Okay, so see how you do. I'll update with the answers once any interested parties have had a chance to give it a try. If you are readers who have specialized knowledge of any of the answers, don't cheat or tip your hand. Play nice! And if you can think of any other interesting questions you want me to answer, it doesn't hurt to ask. I suppose I can tell you what color the curtains are in my kitchen....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Find Yourself Some Bunny To Love

About two years ago, I was standing in the checkout line of one of my students. Jen was a quiet, friendly girl who had no idea that her next sentence was about to change my life in a very profound and meaningful way. Here is what she said to me:

"Oh, Mrs. D., you know, you can pick up any of the bunnies anytime! You don't even have to be buying one. As long as the top is off the little display area, you're free to pick them up and hold any one of them."

Suddenly, it was as if there was a tectonic shift below my feet. Continents collided, oceans spilled their briny and finny contents onto arid sands and arctic shelves alike. The earth held still, no longer rotating upon its axis while black holes swallowed light years' worth of galaxies and celestial bodies of planetary relics. The jet stream halted its flow and not a breath of air moved, not even a whisper of a breeze; majestic eagles and mighty condors gliding on its updraft began to plummet to the ground, saved only by genetic instinct bred of generations. A small child at a church carnival in Boise wept as her scoop of raspberry ripple ice cream fell off its cone and plopped on the hot pavement.

My pen jerked an extra "S" and I wrote "Pet Supplies Pluss" in the Pay to the Order of blank on my check. "What!?" I said, snapping my head up to meet her gaze.

"People do it all the time," she said. "That's why they're in there."

From that moment on, I have been a shameless bunny visitor to my local pet store. I go there simply to pet and hold bunnies. And I don't care who knows it.

Oh, sure, I used to pretend I was there to actually buy a bunny at first. But only if someone came by or seemed to be looking at me. And, yes, I used to actually buy something when I went. I cannot tell you how many separate cans of cat food or cat toys I used to buy. But after a while, I just went there for no other reason than to hold and pet bunnies. The nice thing about our pet store is that it is in the same shopping strip as a Target and a grocery store and a Home Depot. That makes it way easy to simply stop off and grab some bunny time.

Feeling depressed? Go and hold a bunny. Feeling bored? Go and pet some bunnies. Too cold outside to do much of anything? Go hold bunnies. Too far away from payday to feel good about shopping for shoes? Go grab some bunny time. Spring break this year was, as you know, in March. In Northeast Ohio, March is Wintertime. Spring break made me want to slit my wrists. It was cold, dark, depressing, and awful. I basically camped out with the bunnies.

Now, you might be saying, "Nance, why don't you just go ahead and buy a frikking bunny already?" One word: RICK. The husband is not on board with a bunny. He has basically said that until Emily (the blind toothless 18-year old cat) dies, there will be no more pets. (Interesting note: He tried claiming the six outdoor pond fish as pets. I maintain they do not count. Can I get a ruling?)

Jared claims that soon, the pet store people will be "on to" my bunny habit and will put a stop to it. That they'll one day come up to me and say, "Excuse me, ma'am, but you can't just keep coming in here semi-weekly and pick up the bunnies and cuddle them and then leave. In the first place, it's just weird. In the second place, at some point, you should buy one or at least have the intent to buy one. Finally, we are not licensed therapists." After I tell Jared to shut the hell up, I tell him not to worry. For, it is at this point that I plan to play my trump card and this it is: I will tell them that I am a Bunny Whisperer.

Mainly because I believe that this is true. All bunnies love me. Not once has a single bunny struggled or resisted me. They all snuggle up to my neck and chin and relax completely. I speak softly and calmly to them. And when I leave, they all look sorry to see me go.

How does that old song go? "You're no bunny till some bunny loves're no bunny till some bunny cares...."

Monday, May 12, 2008

In Which I Worry Whether I Am A Bad Person Or Just Have A Sick Sense Of Humor

All right! I guess I just need a little bit of reassurance. I mean, as many DoN readers may recall, this recovering Catholic has already gotten over the whole Hell Thing. So, it's not like I'm worried about Eternal Damnation or anything. It's more of a question of whether or not...well...I don't want anyone to think I'm not a Good Person.

Let me explain.

It's this. I'm sorry, but holy crap. I laughed like hell when I read it. Just the lead line alone: "A 50-year old woman from Toledo, Ohio is recovering after a pelican dove down toward her and slammed into her face while she was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico." Are you kidding? A pelican incident? This pelican slammed into her face.

Now I'm not saying that having a full-grown seafaring bird headed straight for your face is not scarytime; it has to be. But come on. There is no way to be prepared for this when you read it in the newspaper, which is where I first saw it. I was in my jammies and robe, holding my mug of coffee, just minding my own business perusing the Cleveland Plain Dealer when all of a sudden, completely out of nowhere, this story slammed into my face!

With, as the news story says, "intense impact."

I once met a pelican. It was in Florida, at a little place called St. John's Pass. It flew down onto a dock rail and perched picturesquely on a post. A bunch of my ladyfriends and I took turns posing next to it. It just stood there, very pleasantly acquiescing to our photo session. It did not slam into our faces, nor did it even look like it wanted to. It did, however, smell terrible. It smelt of rotted fish and seaweed, which is understandable. Once our photo session was over, we wandered away from the pelican and it turned around and faced the water. I'm sure it later flew away, and probably not into anyone's face.

Sadly, the pelican in the news story did not have such an idyllic story. It died from the accident. The woman, Debbie Shoemaker, has a three-inch gash which was closed with 25 stitches. But that errant pelican gave its life.

Yet, I can't stop laughing about the whole thing. And the news stories do not help. One report felt it necessary to point out that Debbie was "not trying to attract any attention or anything of that nature." Were there pictures of fish on her bathing suit? Did she look vaguely codlike?


This is funny. Isn't it? Or am I just a Bad Person?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Random: proceeding, made, or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern

Holy Crap. It's been a week, and I haven't posted. I'm such a slug and a slacker, and it's not like I haven't felt my responsibility most keenly; I have. Have you ever had so many ridiculous hormones performing scenes from Hamlet and A Streetcar Named Desire in your body at once that you just can't stop feeling strung out long enough to accomplish anything beyond the basics?

Really? Really, you have? Then you are my very best friend right now. Let's get hammered.

Anyway. Here's some stuff.

Jared, my enormous child (and you just go ahead and take that any old way you want to) moved home from college in a heap of boxes and laundry last week. He is an English lit. major, and here is an example of the discussions we are now having at the Dept.:

Me: how did that paper finally turn out?
Him: You will be thrilled to know that I employed the semicolon copiously in it. I did it for you, actually.
Me: I told you! The semicolon is the hallmark of an accomplished and mature writer.
Him: It's vastly overrated. It's extraneous in the extreme.
Me: You're full of it.
Him: What!?
Me: You heard me. I'm maligning your veracity. What will you do about it?
Him: I'll...I'll...gesticulate maliciously! (makes threatening motions at my face)
Me: You look like you're vogueing.

My birthday was on the 3rd. I turned 49. I hate birthdays like that: 29, 39, 49. They sound fakey. They sound like I'm trying to lie and hold on to some last vestige of an age that I'm not really still at. I really am 49; I'm not actually 50 and claiming to still be in my forties, hanging onto that decade. So now, when people say something about my age or it comes up and I say, "I'm 49," I might get that sad little look, or that knowing wink wink nudge nudge look that says, "sure you are, honey; sure you are." Sigh. Bullshit. I'd rather be 50 and get it over with. FIFTY. Okay. Maybe not. That sounds pretty serious. F I F T Y. Geeze. I'll start cultivating a fake British accent or something to convey that gravitas. I have a year to work on it.

Finally, I haven't done a haiku for the longest time. I really like them, too. They're short, they force you to economize your thoughts, and they really encapsulate an issue. Here's a political one. Do flex your own haiku muscle in Brainstorms.

Only Democrats
Could screw up an election
After eight Bush years.
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