Tuesday, February 28, 2006

South Beach Diet

Okay, so I'm trying it. The other plan wasn't working. I know when I'm beaten and I was beaten.

I started yesterday and I felt pretty hungry. My instincts were to go indulge my hunger but I didn't. I like the rocotta creme you get to have for a snack. That is good. I'm pretty sure the one I made was bigger than half a cup, though. Half a cup? That's like NOTHING. Also the portion of salmon I had for dinner was certainly larger than 4 oz. Steamed broccoli has zero calories, so I felt entitled. I also could have had tossed salad but I'm too lazy to make it.

Chop the celery.
Chop the cucumbers.
Chop the carrots
Shred the lettuce.

So we'll see how it goes.

Yesterday was a maddening day in other respects too. People who won't call me back, tasks that can't get finished for some reason. I called various alumni associations in order to publicize my book in them, and of course had to JOIN while I was at it. Ka-ching. Now my money is gone from the checking account, but I've received no notification that I'm a member or how I can put in an entry.

Sorry for the rant. My agent Kristin has a great blog called and if you're interested in the publishing biz, it's the best one to read.

A bientot

A bientot

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Olympics Summary

I admit I never turned it on.


Here are the highlights that filtered down to a non-watching American such as moi.

Michelle Kwan elbows her way onto the team after initially not making it. Elizabeth Hughes unpacks her bags, Michelle packs hers because of course the USOC lets her have her way.

Michelle Kwan takes a fall in practice and drops out. Turns out she already had an injury and should never have been on the team. I mean we're sympathetic, but come on. How much do these transatlantic flights cost? Michelle packs her bags to get on one and leaves. Elizabeth Hughes repacks hers and gets to Turin pronto. I have no idea how she did.

Bode Miller brags about skiing drunk, or something like that. "Watch me party." He goes on to an 0-4 record and still brags. "Boy did I party."

What's-her-name who had the gold cinched and stopped for a show-off twirl or flip and fell on her kiester, losing gold and settling for silver. She says it's no big and can't wait to get home for a good steak.

Black guy wins gold in speed skating. Good. Something to cheer about. Gets into feud with white guy on team, they question each other's dedication in front of the international press. I can't think of their names.

Sasha Cohen becomes Great White Hope for America or at least for marketing suits. She falls on her kiester twice and ends up with silver. Say goodbye to the Wheaties box.

All kinds of people fall on their kiesters. The only pictures I saw from the Olympics were those "action" shots of people taking a spill, eyes wide and arms akimbo. Articles are written on Slate about how much fun it is to have friends over and watch people fall on kiesters. It was the NASCAR Olympics.

I'm off to the grocery store of my choice. If I pick Hannaford's, I deserve what I get. PBS is advertising "spectacular conclusion" to BLEAK HOUSE tonight. I sort of doubt that, but I'll still watch.

La plume de ma tante est sur la table

Friday, February 24, 2006

Probing Questions

Biblical foodfight beginning with "m" and six letters.


I made a list last week of things I have to do before the book comes out. Lists make me feel good. I'm Virgo so they're soothing to me. Now this weekend I have to attempt to actually do some of them. I have to call the person who runs the community theatre festival over Memorial Day and say what? Please let me come there and, well, do what? Sit at a table? Sell books? Speak? Hopefully Curtain Number Two. I have to contact my various alumni organizations. Okay, so there's only two, but it seems daunting.

I spoke to a professor with whom I used to chat frequently when we shared the same classroom. He seemed stunned that I knew him.

I like my classes. Just now we are at that warm and fuzzy phase where they know me and I know them and everyone is comfortable. The thing about teaching is that it ends and you never see them again. Not that you want to exactly, but it's a constant starting over, learning new names, etc.

I love looking up the time of sunset and time of sunrise. Today the sun rose at 6:30 and it will set at 5:30 here in my town. The 25 minutes or so before and after these events are called "civil twilight." Isn't that great? I love the concept of twilight being civil. If only all humans could be so during at least those time periods. I SAID SHUT UP!!! NO! YOU CAN'T SAY THAT NOW, IT'S CIVIL TWILIGHT!!! OH, OKAY, COULD YOU PLEASE BE QUIET?

See? Also it makes me happy to look up these facts and compare them to last November and December when it got dark a full half hour earlier (or even more).
Nyah nyah, we're heading into spri-ing.

Now I must go and see what my class has for me today.

always be civil,
A bientot

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

An Ordinary Day

Okay, so the diet thing. I'm still on it, even though I haven't lost any weight for three weeks. I go up and down by a pound, that's it.

I'M STAYING WITH IT BECAUSE I HAVE TO. In truth, my body wants to weigh an enormous amount. It won't be happy until it does. BUT I'M NOT GOING TO LET IT.

Enough of that. I do need to get some fresh books in here so I can try and break free from the puzzles. I must say it is very satisfying to fill in an entire small appendage on the grid. You know, not the huge body of it, but one of the little peninsulas that stick out on the edges.

I had to go back and beef up/sharpen one of my characters in VICTORY, the professor. An astute reader suggested I needed more going on there and that resonated with me. I now have all three characters in the air and spinning, as it were. My friend also wondered if there would be "meaning" to the story. That has me thinking as well. I do so like to trash things up. You couldn't really say that CG has "meaning." But then I didn't want it to. I only wanted it to be funny. It's scary to think of upcoming reviews. CG is an "odd" book and for chick lit, it doesn't fill many of the criteria. No fashion, no shoes, not even a romance really. So I expect many people not to like it. Hey, THERE'S a cheerful thought for a Wednesday morning!!!! Off to one of my schools now to see my cherubs.

Sacre Bleu!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Puzzle Hell

That's where I am, folks, deep inside of puzzle hell.

6 letters. One of a study group. Are you ready?


5 letters. "West Side Story girl"?


These take me hours of concentration and give a brief frisson of satisfaction. See? Why don't they ever ask about frisson? That I could get. It's sickening. At least I got onto the treadmill today. I may have a bad weight loss announcement for tomorrow, though I hope not. Actually, I started this diet five weeks ago today. But I'm not saying anything until tomorrow's weigh-in. Let's put it this way. If I were one of the AOL group or television participants, I'd be kicked out. AND IT'S NOT MY FAULT.

5 letters. Gathering point.


Did you get it?


Saturday, February 18, 2006


Cold is what it is here tonight. I mean REALLY cold. Blight of the earth cold.

So I've added a book signing on June 17 in Sharon, MA, at Annie's Bookstop that should be fun. It will be with Marianne Mancusi, author of A CONNECTICUT FASHIONISTA IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT and other books. I'm feeling like a big shot just saying that.

My students have asked me lately about the book. Good thing they don't yet know about the web site. I think I'd be a little embarrassed to have them looking at that. Once we get through with the semester, that will be fine.

My Obnoxious Nice Kid is still driving everyone crazy in one of my classes. He needs attention all the time. I try to be nice to him, but sometimes you can just feel the class hoping for a senseless beating. He does get off a good one now and then, such as the other day when we were trying to compose a definition of the word "slacker." "There's one in the White House," he cracked and everybody laughed. But then he won't let go of it and keeps making the same joke. He continually talks about the evils of capitalism, even when we're discussing adjectives and adverbs. He literally raises his hand for every question.

I'd rather have him, though, than some of the arrogant ones I've seen over the years. A good friend of mine, perhaps she won't want me to say her name, coined the phrase "cuntly snoot." It's a good one for people like that. This student will usually approach me privately and say that no one else in the class is up to his level and none of them are really worthy enough to peer edit his work.

That calls for the Tupperware Laugh. (definition of TL: the laugh you give when someone asks you to host a Tupperware party)

Blooper of the week: "It was interesting reading Charles Darwin's Origin of Spices."

j'ai envie

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Olympic Highlights

I haven't actually watched the Olympics, but I feel sorry for Michelle. You can bet that's one bitchy little world of women's figure skaters. I can imagine the other ones hate her--she's had her chance!--but I still like Michelle. It must be a strange feeling to know that you'll never get back into a spotlight like that no matter what you do again.

I guess he finally said he was sorry or something like that. He sure doesn't act sorry. God. Here, have a face full of buckshot and suck it up while I go to work. I think it was only the heart attack and the subsequent PR flack that got C to admit regret. If he did. Wonder if the guy will sue his ass off.

I remember when Gerald Ford got knocked in the head with a golf ball, but you kind of expected things like that from him. He was one wacky prez. Saturday Night Live and Chevy Chase got their start from him. And Jimmy Carter collapsed while jogging on the highway, saying that a weird rabbit ran in front of him? Do I have that right? That's what Alice always said on her way down the chute. And then GBush Sr. puking on the Japanese guy--now there's something to make us proud. Remember Dan Quayle? Put him and GWB in a room together and let them fight over the crayons.

I lost another half pound yesterday but it doesn't count until weigh-in day. It makes me happy, though. I get observed today in class, so I'm a little nervous. Won't be bringing in the rubber chicken for today's presentation. I should be okay, I think. The key is to have plenty of material and I do.

Maybe we can discuss the Olympics.

By the way, the tree is put away and my house is divested of Christmas.

Sacre Bleu

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Half a Pound

There. That's it.

Isn't that pitiful?

I know that isn't pc to say, but in four weeks without a chip, without a cookie, I've only lost four pounds. My friend said last night that she's lost six pounds in a week! AAAAARGH!!

But what choice do I have? I have to keep going. Very soon I'm going to have to nail down my book schedule. I thought I would have heard by now from the Big Opportunity, but I have not. I will have to move forward assuming it's a "no." (then of course it will fall in)

I'm enjoying the comparative leisure of this semester from the last. Those Mondays and Wednesdays when I had to shoot to one school, then home, then the other school--were agonizing. Though I made decent money. And the papers are still a groaner.

May I be forgiven a Hannaford's comment? I was in there pre-blizzard on Saturday night and nothing has changed. I think their feeling is "have a nice day" counts as "thank you."

************OLYMPICS NEWS************
I haven't had it on yet.

La plume de ma tante

Sunday, February 12, 2006


We've having a blizzard. Aren't we special. I can look outside my window right here and see the "s" word accumulating on the roof and on the roof of my neighbor who looks like a pioneer. Pioneer Neighbor will soon be out shoveling the stuff and I hope he enjoys himself. I think these are known as white-out conditions. They are why people move out of New England at a steady rate while the rest of us shake our heads and think about doing it. It sucks. It's not Jan/Feb so much as March and April that will get you down. So I guess I should feel cheerful that this is an expected snow, so to speak.


Tomorrow is weigh-in day, readers, and I not in a good place mentally about it. The Little Voice in my head that tries to sabotage me is working overtime. YOU'D BETTER HAVE A LOSS TOMORROW OR YOU WILL KNOW THAT IT'S NOT DOING ANY GOOD. Maybe I'll try the treadmill today. Maybe I really will. One last sweat for the gipper.

Reading Nick Hornby's book A LONG WAY DOWN. Bloke lit as they say and he is hilarious. I haven't been reading the way I usually do because I'm strangled and hypnotized with crossword puzzles. I bought a book of 200 Sunday NYT crosswords for my Thanksgiving trip (!) and am up to #90. They are a curse and I'd like to stop doing them, but whenever I get into my bed, I can't help myself. I have no will power, although I'VE BEEN SHOWING PLENTY OF WILL POWER IN OTHER WAYS. Wouldn't you think a person would lose at least 4 pounds in 4 weeks? Well, I have not.

Although what is the alternative? Usually, I bury myself in a box of cookies and say, well, the next diet is going to be really strict. Plus I have these "events" coming up in May. I guess I'll keep going.

Hey. Wake up. I'm done.

A bientot

Friday, February 10, 2006

Nigglings of Frustration

So I started this new diet three and a half weeks ago. The very first day the scale said 6.5 but the very next day it said 5. So I said the diet started at 5. On this past Monday the scale said 2. Now you could either say that was a three pound loss in three weeks or a 4.5 one. Either way, it's not stupendous, is it?

If I start exercising, that always causes me to fail. Because first of all, it never works. I notice no difference in weight loss whether exercising or not. After a while I start skipping the exercise and then I feel I have failed and I quit altogether.

I can't fail this time. I have to at least lose ten pounds.

Then I hit a certain weight and I just stay there, diet or not. It goes on for weeks and it isn't a plateau. It makes me feel so angry. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

In other news, I hope I don't have a behavioral problem brewing in one of my classes. THis kid raises his hand for every question and obviously needs attention all the time. It's gone okay so far, but I can feel the rest of the class on edge from this kid. I have to do something. I dread things like this.

And my car died yesterday. Someone is coming to tow it today and fix it. $$$$$$$$$$$

Combien monsieur

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Invisible with Justice for All

Yes, readers, I am still invisible at my job.

In the interests of full disclosure I must admit that a woman at ___SC looked at me yesterday and said, "that is the most beautiful scarf!" I was stunned and probably made some kind of fish face as I stared back. I did rally to say "thank you" but in truth, I was noticing the immense cleavage this woman was showing and wondering how that was going over in her class full of undergraduates. I can only imagine the secret comments.

But I can still stride purposefully down the halls of either institution in complete privacy. I could pick my nose. I could drool and let my tongue hang out. If I had the nerve, I would try it.

I do notice that if you walk past a class in session, THEY will look out the door at you with great scrutiny, so perhaps I should feel less anonymous on those occasions. Those students could pick me out of a criminal lineup, I bet. I doubt the faculty could. OH YES I MIGHT HAVE SEEN HER, CAN'T THINK WHERE.

And speaking of criminal lineups, I'm forging ahead on VICTORY and am close to 20,000 words. Two readers are still reading it and I am of course curious to get their comments. But I no longer feel that I am going to abandon it. I posted a question about how to steal from a grocery store on a Yahoo group I am in, and two people scolded me about actually doing it. I had to reassure them that it was for a book. Yikes. Did they think I was going to steal a can of corn from the grocery? Don't think I'll be trying that one.

In contrast to faculty cold shoulders, I am the freaking homecoming queen upstairs at the Mount. It comes from having so many students, particularly last semester.
"Hi, Kayla, Mark, Gwynn, Alice." "Oh yes hi, Mary, Harry, Larry and Nod." Everyone knows me and speaks and smiles. I'm practically in tears by the time I arrive at my classroom.

You can't have everything.

Laissez les bon temps rouller.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mick Jagger

God, he's older than I am. He has no natural dance talent, he just sort of spazzes his way around the stage. The sound was terrible, wasn't it? At least for the peons without surround sound or whatever it is.

The Burger King ad was sort of disgusting, I thought. The tomato girls and the onion girls, etc., throwing themselves down on the bun. All I could think of was the Entwistle case where the bodies were hiding under the covers. I know that is terrible of me, but that's where my thoughts went.

You can't stop your thoughts.

I was happy for Jerome Bettis. That's about all I could say about the game, except that it made me miss the first half of Bleak House, which is tres excellent.

The Super Bowl has gotten to be a cultural event in the last ten years or so. I say that because I never watched it before then and never cared about it, so if it is pulling the likes of me into it, it must be a cultural event. I will ask my students today which ad they thought was the best.

I bet everyone will say the "streaker sheep." I didn't see one that I thought was "killer." And "brown and bubbly" has to go. It sounds like sewage.

A bientot

Saturday, February 04, 2006

super bowl

On my way into class the other day, I passed two beefy "cool dudes" talking in the hallway. I passed them and as I sat at my desk waiting for the appointed hour to arrive, I realized I could hear every word these two young men were saying. What do you think they were talking about?

Recipes for Super Bowl appetizers.

Fie upon those for me. None will pass my lips. My mother used to say nothing will pass my lips except to keep me alive. Then the next thing I'd see would be M&Ms at her side. My mother has always loved candy. People nowadays act as if you are offering them poison when you pass a box of candy. "Oh, no," they say. "No," with a special drawn-out tone in their voice.


The scale had me down to 1.5 yesterday but I know that's probably a fluke. Still, it feels encouraging.

I am off to watch Eddy Izzard and I freely admit I am looking forward to it. I have recommended it to my friends, so we'll see if my recommendation holds up. It's so embarrassing when it doesn't. Gosh, this was really funny when my alcoholic buddies and I watched it last summer.

A bientot

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Gender Observations

Women are not generous drivers. Believe me, I hate saying it. But when was the last time a good-hearted driver waved you into traffic, let you make a left right in front of them, and they were female? That's what I thought. Men show their good side at those times.

I also like the way they take out the garbage.

And mop up sewage in the basement.

Of course they're the ones who display the horrifying road rage too.

Years ago I was waiting to make a left turn onto Rte 117 in Bolton. It was clogged, the smaller road I was on was clogged, it was Saturday on Bolton Fair afternoon and of course the town is wild with yahoos and adrenaline the whole day. I should never have chosen that route. Anyway, I was second in line for a long time.

When I got to be first in line, the car behind me went berserk, honking and yelling. I could see the man in my rearview mirror. He was out of his mind. "What are you waiting for?" I could his mouth say, and other things I couldn't make out. He had at least two passengers with him but they were silent, probably wondering where the Prozac vial was and if it could be procured before the driver went down in a seizure.

I had my young daughter with me and felt mortified and incriminated and guilty. I didn't have the nerve to pull out into traffic. If I'd had any real guts, I should have gotten out of my car and walked back to the guy and asked him how his day was going. Or called him a stupid fucking asshole. Instead, I rolled down my window and yelled out, "why don't you show a little patience?" Oh, it seemed pititfully inadequate. I hated myself all day.

But now? It seems like a good remark.

Laissez les bon temps rouller.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A New Month

Hope rises.

We've gotten through with pretty warm weather and only two snowstorms. I count the storms by how many times I have to pay the plow guy and it's only been twice in January. In terms of the semester, February is a short month and then we are into spring break month. My big bummer is that my two colleges have spring break during different weeks. I may still figure out a trip to Arkansas anyway.

I have been letting students email assignments and I'm going to have to get another plan because it's driving me cuckoo.

Isn't this fascinating?

Oh yes, on Monday the official weigh-in day, I was back up to 4, which was depressing. But yesterday I was at 2.5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am PSYCHED.

In other news, I've discovered a new WW Smart Ones entree that is very good. It's chicken enchiladas or something like that. I've been eating them for every meal. Also bananas before meals to dull the app.

Somedays, ya just ain't got nothin' to say.