Monthly Archives: February 2007

A Meme

…I’m still feeling less-than-creative right now – I’m stuck in the February blahs – so I’ve stolen this from Eats Bugs

Have you ever had an argument with a teacher?
Yes, I have. I very eloquently and insistently argued with a grad school professor over a rotten grade I received for a writing assignment. I got the grade I wanted, and I still have the emails the professor and I exchanged. Here’s my opening salvo:

First of all, and respectfully, I didn’t answer the question about how much Shakespeare students read because I’m not sure that it was posed in the original assignment. Your opening statement was that “every high school student reads tons of Shakespeare,” and I have no quarrel with this assertion.  I personally read six plays in four years of high school (three of them twice, one of them three times) and more sonnets than I care to remember. The question of why we are asked to consume so much Shakespeare is one about which I can only speculate.

Can you count in Roman numerals?
Not COUNT, per se, but I can tell when a movie was filmed and which Super Bowl we’re on, so I guess I do okay.

Are you bilingual?
I’m going to answer this one with a hesitant “yes.” I speak English very, very well, and can get by in American Sign Language, though I’m not nearly as fluent as I once was.

Do you know how your car’s engine works?
Uh, no. I know where to put gas and wiper fluid. Everything else is handled by Ed, my trusted car guy.

Can you program the time on a VCR?
Yes, I can!

How many email addresses do you have?
Four. One for friends and family, one for students and blog-friends, one that was given to me by the college but which I almost never use, and one for my mobile phone.

Do you own a slinky?
Not me, personally, though the girls have a couple, I’m sure. I think one of them is metal and one is orange plastic.

Do you talk to yourself?
All the time.

Do you have a tough time remembering people’s names?
I used to think that I sucked with names, but I’m discovering that this isn’t really true. I know all my students’ names, and I can remember the names of students I had in prior terms, so I guess I’m pretty okay with names after all.

Did you go stag to your Senior Prom?
No, but I did leave with someone different from the person with whom I arrived…

Is any leftover food currently residing in your refrigerator?
Not as much as usually lives there, actually. We had a “leftover dinner” the other night which took care of most of that.

Are you high maintenance?
No. Well, not usually – I have my moments, particularly when I’m feeling insecure or needy. I can go from fast asleep in the morning to out the door in about 20 minutes, though, so I’d have to say that qualifies me as pretty low-maintenance.

How do you want to be proposed to?
I was proposed to on a beach. We were the only people there and my husband was both romantic and pragmatic at the same time. It was lovely.

Do you work out regularly?
Yes. I teach fitness classes three times a week, so I get those workouts automatically. I’ve been trying to get to other people’s classes, but haven’t had such a great track record with that. I should try harder

Do you care about your appearance?
I do, but not to the point of being high maintenance. I take care of my skin, I try to eat well, and I don’t wear stuff that’s too ratty or that doesn’t suit my shape.

Describe the person of your dreams:
He’s a little taller than me, red-haired, smart, funny, and kind. He’ll be home in about 20 minutes…

Do you like to be tan?
No. I am one of the whitest people I know and can not tan. I have two colors – red and white. White is good, red is bad.
If you had your choice of anyone in the world to spend a night with, who would it be?
I get to do that every night. Next question….

How many keys are on your key ring?
Two; one for my VW Golf (aka Puck) and an old fashioned key that used to open my great-grandmother’s front door.

How much money is in your wallet/purse right at this moment?
Thirty-six dollars and sixty-two cents.

What is your favorite spice or seasoning?
Garlic, with onion coming in a nearly-tied second.

What does your name mean?
Loved One.

Do you give your pets holiday presents?

When doing up your jeans, do you button then zip? Or zip then button?
Zip first, then button.

How far would you go on the first date?
A smooch on the front steps is fine for a first date. I’m so glad I don’t have to worry about THIS anymore.

Do you sleep on your side? Stomach? Back?
Mostly on my side, though I occasionally end up on my back, at which point my husband moves me because, apparently, I snore when I’m on my back.

Have you attended a high school reunion yet? How was it?
I went to my tenth and didn’t really love it. I’m kicking around the idea of going to my twentieth, but the jury’s still out

Are you ticklish? Where?
Yes – everywhere. My husband loves this. I do not.

Would you rather change your past or know your future?
I wouldn’t mind knowing a LITTLE bit about the future, but not too much. I’d keep the past just the way it was – I wouldn’t risk changing anything for fear that I wouldn’t end up where I am right now

Do you believe in saving yourself for marriage?
Puh-leeese. Next question…

Would you pick up a hitchhiker?
Nope. I’ve seen too many horror movies.

Would you consider yourself a worrier?
I would say that I worry less than most, but that I do still worry. I can latch on to some stuff pretty hard, too…

Do you notice when your crush/significant other changes something about themselves?
Yes; instantly. Sometimes I notice things that aren’t even there….

Do your first impressions of people usually stick?

What movie can you watch over and over?
This is a trick question; there are a BUNCH that I could (and do) watch over and over. The Hunt for Red October. Apollo 13. Forrest Gump. Remember the Titans. The Last Samurai, The Matrix… should I go on?

Do you like to cook?
Very much. I find that I’m much like the Izzy character on Grey’s Anatomy. When I’m stressed or upset, I cook and clean, but I do find joy in cooking for its own sake.

Do plants die in your care?
Almost never, though I’ve not yet been able to keep a gardenia alive.

What’s one thing you feel you must do in your life before it ends?
I’m already doing it.


Filed under Little Bits of Nothingness

Ten Things Tuesday

images4.jpegInteractive, literary edition!

I just finished reading The Girl With the Pearl Earring and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I need suggestions on what to read next. These are ten books that I have in my personal library; suggestions are welcomed:

1. Johnathan Strange and Dr. Morrell by Susanna Clark

2. The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

3. Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon

4. Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King

5. Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz

6. Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire

7. Lucky by Alice Sebold

8. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

9. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan

10. Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow


Filed under ten things Tuesday

Low Self-Esteem Day

delusions.jpgSorry, Readers. Mrs. Chili is having “a day.” There are a few things converging on me at once, and I’m feeling ill-equipped to deal with most of them. Today would have been a good “stay at home in my pajamas” day but, alas, Mama’s got responsibilities.

As a result of this ebb in the Universal flow, I’ll be happy if I can manage dinner and a little reading while Mr. Chili and Dudley watch the SU/Georgetown game on ESPN tonight. I love it when I hear Mr. Chili scream at the television because I know I can count to three-Mississippi and the phone will ring with Dudley on the other end, screaming at HIS television in Maryland. They’re so cute together…

In lieu of something funny and intelligent from me, I leave you with this little list of witticisms, sent to me by one of my favorite yoga participants:

Zen sarcasm

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I
may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. In fact, just leave me the
hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky

3. It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you’re going to steal your
neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.

4. Don’t be irreplaceable. If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.

5. Always remember that you’re unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their

9. If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and
he will sit in the boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

12. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

13. Some days you’re the bug; some days you’re the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like ‘The Force’. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.

20. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.


Filed under Little Bits of Nothingness

Weekend Edition Puzzle

images-13.jpegMy Sunday mornings are all pretty much the same.  I get up at about seven in the morning, dress in workout clothes, and head downstairs for a small bowl of cereal, a glass of Ovaltine, and a quick check of my favorite blogs.  I’m in the car listening to NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday just as it comes on, and my commute allows me to listen to the intro, NPR’s news, my local news, and the “voices in the news” segment before I pull into the health club parking lot.  I teach a step class, then go upstairs and teach a yoga class.  I log my classes in the office, then am back in the car on my way home just in time to hear Leanne Hanson and Will Shortz do the weekly puzzle.

I don’t enter the puzzles, though I’ve been enjoying them for a couple of years now.  Honestly, more often than not, I’ve completely forgotten the weekly challenge by the time I get in the house – chocolate chip pancakes offer up a wicked distraction, I tell you!  Anyway, I’ve always wanted to enter the puzzle because I get a HUGE kick out of playing the thing on the way home and, usually, I’m pretty darned good at it (mostly because they play word games, and… well… you know…).

Last week’s puzzle was a dreaded MATH challenge (boo, hiss!  Will lost me when he said that we could use exponents to solve the challenge.  Exponents?!  What the hell’s an exponent**?!), but this week’s puzzle is an anagram.  I love anagrams – Punkin’ Pie brought home the letters for “valentines” last week and, between Mr. Chili and me, we made upwards of 125 words – so I was all over this.

The challenge is to take the letters in “melancholiac,” add an “r,” and rearrange the letters to form the name of a famous actress.

I figured it out with Scrabble letters while eating lunch with the girls.  They’ve never heard of the resulting name, but I had and, dammit!  I figured it out!

I submitted my answer to the NPR website about five minutes ago.  A good many of the people who get to play puzzle seem to be like me – they play on their own for years and never submit an answer.  It seems that a lot of these folks get called the first time they do send a response in, though, and I’m hoping that works in my favor.  I’d really love to get the fun, word-geeky prizes they give away….

(**and yes, I DO know what an exponent is – I even know what they do – so don’t flood my comments with math lessons, please…)


Filed under admiration, Little Bits of Nothingness

You’ve Got a Future in Pictures, Kid!

CHECK THIS OUT!!  Punkin’ Pie and Daddy made a video this morning!  Watch for the wink after the smooch…..


Filed under Uncategorized

Shhh! If We’re REALLY Quiet, Maybe She’ll Go Away!

It occurred to me this afternoon that it’s been a week since I wrote my letter to Bertucci’s. As of this moment, I’ve not heard a peep back from them. I have to say that I’m really disappointed by the fact that no one has bothered to acknowledge my letter.

I composed this letter to be as professional and objective as possible, and I didn’t make any unreasonable demands for compensation. It was fairly obvious, I thought, that I wasn’t some whining crazy woman who wanted a free meal out of the deal, and I had hoped that would increase the chances of someone responding to the note. I had thought that the manager of the store – who, ostensibly, WANTS this kind of feedback as he left a stack of business cards on the hostess’s desk at the front of the restaurant – would have at least taken a moment to fire off a “Gee, Mrs. Chili, we’re really sorry about the other night. Thanks for calling this to my attention” kind of email.

It seems that I thought wrong, and this makes me a little sad.

A lot of us – me included – make noise about the lack of common courtesy in our society. We complain about how few people employ basic manners, about how few people are willing to step up and be accountable for the things within their control, and about how rarely we demonstrate respect or empathy for one another. I had hoped that the letter I wrote to the manager of Bertucci’s would see this as an opportunity to do some of those things, and I’m sad that my more pessimistic views, which I’d hoped to dispel a bit, are being spectacularly reinforced.


Filed under General Bitching

Pray for Me…

images3.jpeg…or, more specifically, pray for my shins.

I’m co-teaching a Punk Rope class at the university this evening. I took the certification for Punk Rope back in October, but I haven’t really even thought much about it since the workshop. My schedule is incompatible with teaching a lot of fitness classes at the university (most of the aerobic stuff happens in the evenings when I’m home with my girls) and the health club where I work isn’t quite ready to add another class to the schedule – particularly one for which they only have one certified instructor.

Ed, who took the certification with me last fall and has been teaching the 5:30 Thursday night Punk Rope class at the university, is going away next week and needs a sub. My supervisor at the health club wants to add a special, one-of Punk Rope class to the schedule on the 13th of March to see if there’s enough member interest to work the program into the line-up on a more regular basis. I told Ed that I’d be happy to sub for him next week, but that he’s got to spend some time with me reviewing the format and activities in the class because I’m really out of practice.

So, Dear Readers, I’m going to the university tonight to blare punk music and whip my calves with my jump rope so that I feel at least marginally qualified to sub for Ed next week and to introduce the class to my club next month. I really do like the Punk Rope format – the founder, Tim Haft (whose picture opens this post), is wonderful, and his program is a whole lot of fun: not to mention, as I said in October, it’s an ass-kickin’ workout – I’m just feeling the trepidation of one who hasn’t skipped rope in four months.

Here’s hoping I can make it down the stairs tomorrow…


Filed under Little Bits of Nothingness, Worries and Anxieties