Friday, December 30, 2005

new things

Why does everything have to be new?

Why can't we keep shopping at the old places, then have them re-modeled and keep shopping there some more?

But NOOOOOOOOOOOO, everybody has to build NEW malls and leave the old storefronts empty. It's stupid.

I should get the folders for the book today, although the print guy said yesterday they were having "tray" problems with the machine. I don't CARE about your tray problems, I will be TRAY unhappy if I don't get them.

Perhaps tantrums will serve me better than the current sniveling jellyfish routine I use now.

The letter, the excerpt sheet, and the bio are done, or at least nearly done. There's always something else they want you to do. Explain your book in one page. Now explain it in two paragraphs. Okay, let's try one sentence. Okay, now explain your book by pantomiming it. By cooking it. My book, if cooked, would be a big Reese's cream pie. Yum. Hope that's not conceited and arrogant and jinx-inviting.

A bientot

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I think I will be recommending THE HISTORIAN, though there are a lot of coincidences that keep cropping up in the story. I am thinking perhaps those will be explained. It's a ripping good tale, and has me looking up Constantinople and Istanbul, etc. I like reading a book where you learn something.

I recently read I AM CHARLOTTE SIMMONS and enjoyed it. Screw the critics, it's a good read for sure as are all of Tom Wolfe's books. I've never been disappointed. Certain authors I would always read, no matter what, and if I'm lucky enough to find their books in the library--pluck!!!!--they're mine!!!

Today I have to finish my excerpt sheet for the book, using the only four blurbs that I have. I guess I will use extremely large type to try and disguise that fact. Sort of like a first grade reader. HI. SEE BECKY'S BOOK. SEE THE VERY FEW WORDS OF PRAISE THAT NOW EXIST FOR IT. RUN OUT AND BUY IT EVEN SO. WHY? WE REALLY CAN'T THINK OF A GOOD REASON.

Then I have to try two more printer possibilities for these godforsaken folders that I want to do. Details, details.

It's really been nice not going into any grocery stores this week and I have so many leftovers I probably won't have to.

Hope is in the air. A bientot.

Monday, December 26, 2005


The relief is palpable. Christmas brings love and joy and gratification and some decent mixed drinks, but it also brings tremendous relief when it is over.

I just like scuffing around in my (new!!!) slippers ignoring housework. That is my rightful role in this world. A window fellow out onto the kitchen sink and then the floor in the middle of the night last night. Is that a message from above? Or maybe I didn't put the window in right? I knew it was only wedged in there, but I thought it would stay. And there were no high winds.

I'm reading THE HISTORIAN right now, about Dracula, so I'm a little on edge.

I'm off to the casino today. I'm sure I will lose my paltry sum early.

A bientot

Friday, December 23, 2005

Santa Claus

That's pretty much what I was yesterday as I gave my grades. At least in some cases. Too kind? Who knows? Most of the grades are easy to figure out--you pretty much know what they're going to get all semester.

The ones who should have failed did fail. A few people got booted up to another level, and probably no one got booted down.

I had some nice handshakes and kind remarks. I brought in peanut butter M&Ms for the final yesterday, but hardly anybody wanted any. I told them the Big Diet starts soon. I can't do book signings while I'm the size of the book store.

So. That's probably it till after Xmas.

Have a merry and a happy, everybody.

A bientot

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


It must be hard to do. Very hard. My heart goes out to them as I stand in line, five back, waiting for my turn. Most customers are pretty tolerant this close to Christmas. Oh I'm sorry. No, go ahead. You first. Etc.

Filene's salespeople: one at the Express checkout upstairs, rather a Buddy Hackett-looking little guy, rolling his eyes and talking to himself. Keep in mind there were no bad customers, just a few who asked for gift boxes. In the words of Harvey Fierstein, IS THAT SO WRONG? Meanwhile, this guy kept muttering and cursing, well, I presumed he was cursing. Maybe he was saying a novena. Maybe he was enumerating to himself what he loved about New England. Anyway, I was truly afraid of him. "Okay if I grab a few gift boxes? I'll get them myself."

Slender Alex Trebec-looking fellow with gray moustache in a sportcoat and tie (for GOD'S SAKE!) at the same register a couple of days later. Looked like a manager and was. Reasonably competent but taking no guff, brooking no opposition. I normally try to weasel my way into a coupon sale by saying I have forgotten mine at home, which come to think of it, is true. But I didn't dare with this guy. He would have decked me. Right before it was my turn, the real cashier appeared, for whom Alex must have been standing in while she ate a pound of candy. Very overweight, bleached blonde, late middle age, and disappointed to be there. Grumpsville. Said nothing the entire time, did reach down and give me a gift box, I didn't dare ask for tissue paper as you sometimes can in non-holiday times when you don't need it.

Tall almost-bald Sears Dad type working at different Express checkout on the same floor a few weeks ago. What a difference. This guy didn't have a clue what he was doing, it might have been his first day at his part time job (real job? possibly chemical engineer) but he was very pleasant and more than happy to void out a sale or whatever you needed. No gift boxes available. I should have looked for him this week. By now that guy is probably kicking ass.

Not many thank yous out there. Hannaford's could do a little recruiting at Filene's.

Feliz navidad

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Super Stop and Shop

An old friend of mine used to call it Stop and Shit, which still makes me laugh.

Anyway, I WENT THERE TODAY. Yes, that's right, I've made the switch!!!!

I like the salad bar and spent way too much money loading up with items I do not need. WW Smart Ones entrees were three for $6, that is a fantastic price. I didn't really notice other prices.

But guess what the cashier said?


She was a little older, and seemed more intelligent than the H people. However, not a "thank you" in sight. Have I gained anything? Especially since the parking lot is about two miles long, like a bowling alley. It was fairly warm today, but on cold days it can be life on the tundra heading into this place.

Both cashiers at Filene's were exceptionally grouchy. No "thank you"s there either. I guess clerks don't feel they have to say it. Maybe they feel they're doing us a favor and we should thank them. You know what I say to that?

In a pig's eye.

Meanwhile, one student after another is getting in touch to find out when the rescheduled final is. God. They couldn't figure this out for themselves?

Jingle jingle jingle.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Student situations will drive me insane before it is over.

Student Situation #1:
Young woman very quiet, pleasant, not a Rhodes scholar, tells me she left her research paper in the office last week. She says someone took it from her and put it in my mail. I never got it. I told her she'd better be in touch with me. She hasn't. Her phone number doesn't work. WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Flunk her on the paper? D in the course? Seems harsh and yet........

Student Situation #2:
Young woman tells me a person in her family, well, I don't feel I can repeat this one. But trust me, a person in her family did something REALLY BAD. So I said I would work with her on the deadlines (read: disregard). I thought she would at least start attending, but I have not seen her in 3 weeks. I don't know what to do with her. She owes 3 out of 4 papers and did not submit the portfolio. I hope she will take an incomplete, which I am willing to give her.

Is there a theme here?

Am I looking like a chump?

Usually I'm a cast iron bitch and everybody knows it, but now and then I do have a heart. Okay, one more.

Student Situation #3: Another young woman, whom I love, she's funny and bright but something of a slacker. She blew off the research paper in her course. I have to give her a D. BUT I LIKE HER SO MUCH.

This is the agonizing part of teaching.

The day that I turn in the grades is the day I look like Sybil.

Wait, no, okay, yes, no wait, no don't wait.

100 students this semester. I should be in an asylum.

A bientot

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Where do YOU like to shop?

I almost always go to Filene's, which is quite near my house.

Here's what happens.

First, my friend nausea drops in for a visit. I start feeling queasy and icky after about ten minutes. I don't know why this is. It's all those little voices in my head--

"That's too much money."

"Well, it's 20% off, isn't it?"

"That's STILL too much money. And you have one just like it."

"Did I pay the electric bill?"

"Yes. All you ever buy is black."

"Shut up. God, did I remember the flyer? The coupon thing?"

"It's in the car, you weasel brain."

"Is that me in the mirror? God, I look terrible."

"Quit looking at yourself in the mirror. It's unseemly."

"But I look so terrible I just want to keep looking at myself."

Then pretty soon massive heat stroke threatens me.

"I have to take this jacket off."

"It's going to be severely inconvenient to walk around with it."

"Yes, but I have to."

"Okay, but now you'll be sorry you spilled soup on yourself."

"Oh shit. I'll keep it on."

Eventually, I develop joint pain, including hips, knees, and the killer of all, feet.

This is making me faint.

I have to stop.

A bientot

Sunday, December 11, 2005

free web tracker

Thoughts on a Sunday

My publisher says that the good blogs all ask questions.


What does YOUR grocery checkout person say at the end of your exchange? Mine says nothing. [note: yes, this is a lame excuse for another Hannaford's rant: not an hour ago, my pimpled teenage male cashier said, "You're all set," as he handed me my receipt. Does that count as "thank you"? I think NOT,]

What are YOU paying for gas? I paid $2.09 last Thursday.

What do you pay for frozen South Beach Diet entrees? I pay $2.99 at, well, I don't want to say but it starts with H.

What do you REALLY spend on Christmas? It's a money hemorrhage, isn't it? Just to buy liquor is more than a hundred bucks, right? Let's prove it.

reasonable non-rotgut bottle of gin $18

two large bottles of Emmett's (because
who can afford Bailey's?) for mudslides $54

two cases of beer, one rotgut and one
decent (Sam Adams?) $50

8 mixers, Cokes, tonic, Diet Coke, orange
juice, cranberry juice, etc. $12

reasonable non-rotgut bottle of vodka $18
for mudslides

bottle of Kahlua for mudslides $20

two bottles of Sutter Home wine, one
white, one red $20

TOTAL $192

OY GOD. I'm hyperventilating. And that's not even counting if you want to make margaritas or some such folderol.

Okay, so let's screw the gin. $174

Screw the Sam Adams. $149

But replace with rotgut beer $165

I can't do this any more. I was going to continue, but I have to rest.

A bientot

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Blizz

Yes, driving in a blizzard is a skill one needs here in the desolate northeast.

Not that I did any driving. My friend did it.

Getting your friends to do onerous tasks is another skill one needs.

More later.

J'ai envie

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

slacker redux

Now I feel cruel.

A girl wrote to me and asked if she could meet with me, after admitting she couldn't motivate herself to come to my class.

Good grief.

I told her I didn't see a need for a meeting. I've never done that before. I know she is really scared.

Today she came to class after about three weeks and looked near tears the whole time.


I feel bad. Plus she tried to turn in her paper without a folder, which I don't allow. Why? Because everyone else has to use a folder. And also because I am a cast iron bitch, THAT'S why. This is not an easy gig.

J'ai envie d'essayer mes skis neufs.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Every day more of them....they're all around me.

I haven't been to your class in a while, but I really really need to pass.

Can I do extra credit?

I can't drop this course because my financial aid will go away.


Have a nice day

Saturday, December 03, 2005


That's right, satisfied and full. A full three days worth of calories in one meal, thanks to the Aegean in Watertown, home of the original dead-end parking lot. Just drive in and enter total existential gridlock. Nowhere to park, no room to turn around, no hope for the future. Just you and the car in front of you and the car behind you. Everyone is stuck. I adore their lemony roasted potatoes. My daughter-in-law was taken aback by their somewhat sharp flavor, but me, I loves them with all my heart.

I promised, of course, not to post any more about, well, you know. Hannaford's. But I have to. Last week I was looking for Yoplait chocolate mousse Whips, my fave, and of course they were almost out. I had to reach WAAAAAAAY back on the top shelf and you know what that's like. You have to turn to the side in order to get your arm to reach back as far as possible. Meanwhile, there is a big sullen young dude, dairy worker I guess, standing there stocking or pricing or trying to look busy. While I grapple and grunt at my task, he stands silently. Eventually, I can't reach far enough any more and I am forced to put a foot up on the display case so I can actually stand up on the shelf and get my chocolate mousse Whips.

"Guess I'm going to have to stand up here," I say as I hoist my middle-aged limbs up three feet from the floor.

Guess what he said?

Can you?

Yes of course. We all KNOW what he said. NOTHING. NADA. Because let's all say it together, boys and girls, HE WORKS AT HANNAFORD'S AND THEY ARE ALL BASTARDS.

Okay, I'm done. I wasn't going to report on this, but a conversation I had at dinner has persuaded me.

My readers deserve the truth.

au wiedersehn