Saturday, January 31, 2009

DFW Theatre: One in 3

Wednesday night I went to see One in 3, "a play about the reality, not the politics" of abortion.*

The website doesn't give much info about the "story" of the play, but that's because it's not really a linear-storyline kind of thing. It reminded me of The Vagina Monologues (PS - SMU and UNT are participating in V-Day, if you're interested), but ties together by a specific topic.

The play takes place in the waiting room of an abortion clinic. Through monologues, duets, and not-overdone use of multi-media, these series of open-ended vignettes give us glimpses into the lives of the women who walk into those clinics every day.

We don't follow each women through to find out how her story ends; we see her come in to the clinic, and through her interactions with the nurse and/or other patients or through flashback-type scenes we find out why the woman is there. The receptionist (Molly Milligan) breaks the fourth wall and shares a few statistics about abortion with us, for example that 49% of pregnancies in the US are unplanned. While not every unplanned pregnancy is going to be an unwanted pregnancy, "unplanned" is the first prerequisite for "unwanted."

At first it struck me that we did not find out what happened to the women after they walked out of the waiting room. "Dena," the receptionist, is the only character (and actress) who stays with us throughout the play; the other women come and go, and the actress returns as another character. The cast does an amazing job of playing such diverse roles, becoming each woman. Emily Ko goes from an uptight adult to a shy minor to a crunchy-granola EcoNazi; it was mesmerizing to see her body language change so completely for each role to accurately portray such diverse ages. Rhianna Mack also stands out in this area, first appearing as an African-American high school senior with full "street" attitude complete with Ebonics (I swear I had this student in class last semester; I had to resist the urge to write her an office referral), then appearing as the clinic counselor: warm, comforting, mature (and eloquent).

At first I wanted to know what happened to each woman. Some of them still seemed conflicted as they sat in the waiting room; some, I felt the counselor would not allow to have the procedure done because the women did not seem ready or sure about their choice. And, conditioned by Hollywood, I want everything to be tied up in a neat little package with a pretty pink bow on top and a happy ending spelled out for me. But then I got it -- that was not the point.

The point is to get people talking. To get people to realize that women have to deal with this. Pregnancy happens, whether you want it to or not. And it happens for a wide variety or reasons. In a perfect world, unwanted pregnancies would not happen. But the world is far from perfect. So let's deal with the reality, not the "shoulds."

The women portrayed in the play are real women. The writers spoke with several women who have had an abortion, and these characters evolved from those conversations. Also, they are not the stereotyped extreme: this is not a play about the thirteen-year-old who was raped by her father and how we need to keep abortion legal because of her. Yes, we do see the heroin junkie who's going in for her second abortion. Yes, we see the homeless woman who was raped.

But we also see the woman who just got a promotion at work and is not ready for a child right now, who does not want to condemn her child to be raised by a nanny because she's a "phantom mom." We see the girl who does have love and support from her family and the boyfriend, but she does not want to have a child right now.

We see women in so many different situations who make this decision for so many different reasons. Sometimes that reason is, "Because I cannot bring a child into this life right now -- that's not right for the potential child." And sometimes, that reason is "Because this is what I need to do, for me, at this point in my life."

I have SO much more to say about this, and I probably will say it. But I'll end this post here for now.

Please go see One in 3. The run has been extended through next weekend (it's been selling out, so they're doing something right).

The play is not propaganda. As the writers explain in the program,
"An anti-choice activist recently said, 'Our goal is to increase he social tension over abortion.' Our goal, very different, is tomove beyond political argument to the deep, private places where real women make complex choices. Our hope is to foster respect for the reproductive decisions every woman must make."
For more info on the show and to buy tickets, please visit http://onein3.org/site/.

Showtimes are tonight (Sat) at 8:00 pm (this performance will be followed by a talkback, which I highly recommend), and next weekend, Friday (2/6) and Saturday (2/7) at 8:00 pm, at The Green Zone in Dallas. Click here for tickets!

One in 3 is a co-production of Project X Theatre, the Texas Equal Access Fund and One Mind Productions, Inc. in partnership with the National Network of Abortion Funds. (Please feel free to make a donation to the TEA Fund and/or the NNAF.)


*It's hard for me to NOT go into the politics on this issue. Maybe it's because I'm overly defensive; maybe it's because I know I'm right and I need to prove it to everyone. Either way, the first draft of this post got a little preachy... Hopefully this draft will keep the propaganda down to a minimum.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mea culpa...

I should have spent tonight: A) finishing the translation I should have done much earlier, or B) writing a blog post about how awesome One in 3 was. Instead, I played around with the snazzy new banner you see above.

Tomorrow Freddy and I are going to Tennessee, to visit his 96-year-old great-aunt. The plan is to write the blog post on the plane (yay, Alphasmart!) Of course, I also need to finish the squirrel story I started over the summer, and I also want to write the other story that's been swimming around in my head. Oh, yeah, and LIFE CHOICES is still patiently waiting to be read and edited.

We'll see how productive this weekend ends up being. *crosses fingers*

PS: Um... this is lame, but... Will you please follow me? I have low self-esteem, you see, and I need the external validation. If you read this blog, will you follow it? (Under the Twitter widget thingie-majig.) Thank you!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Man, the Myth, the Mystery

I need to ask my dad to buy me Roberto Bolaño's books on his next trip to Chile. With all the hype he's generated, AND he's my compatriota! I gotta read 'em.

(Then again, I might find out Bolaño's this big shot here in the US, but laughed at in Chile, like Isabel Allende. I enjoyed THE HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS, but the second time I read it, I realized how many problems the book has -- basic storyline/continuity issues that any editor should have caught and fixed. It makes the book come across as very amateur writing. And don't get me started on her young adult book... great idea, but could she have written it any more poorly???)

Cleaning out my GoogleReader subscriptions, I came across this article on Bolaño, about how he more than likely created this "tortured writer" persona (heroin addiction, etc.) because that's good PR for writers. So, should I start doing the same?

Should I start blogging about my struggled with addiction to Haribo Gummi Frogs? How cotton candy has ruined my teeth, and my finances? (Root canals are expensive, people!) How I struggled with co-dependent relationships with my multiple cats, and how I let them abuse me, physically and emotionally?

I shall ponder the issue. In my attic. Alone. In the rain.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CPSIA blog-in

Marcy said it better than I could. So go read her post about CPSIA and how it's going to destroy libraries as we know them, and obliterate handmade toys.

Ice? ICE, baby!

"... and the rains came down, and covered the lands, and froze. And the district declared an ice day. And there was much rejoicing in the lands, and it was good."


Last night, Freddy and I diligently read the school closings and delays listed across the bottom of channel 8's screen. The two districts where we live had already decided to close for today, but the district where I work, 30 minutes away and notorious for refusing to cave in to silly things like snow days, had not said anything yet. Freddy, who'd been out earlier last night because of an audition, declared I was not going anywhere today, no matter what the district did -- I was going to call them and tell them I was taking the day off anyway because it was not safe to drive. While I agreed with him (I do have several bridges and overpasses on my way to work), I wasn't too keen on the idea of making sub lesson plans over the phone (especially since I'm going to be out Friday already, so I'll need sub lesson plans [read: pointless busywork] two days from now).

We checked the district website, which stated the decision on bad weather would be made by 6:00 am.

This morning, the alarm rang at 5:45 am. In my sleep stupor, I was coherent enough to realize I had not gotten The Call yet, which meant school was NOT closed. Crapfest. Freddy was not going to let me go to work. Who did I need to call? When would someone be at the school for me to call? What crappy lesson plans was I going to give the kids? (Draw the vocab is a popular one. What else are you going to do with a level 1 class?)

Then, at 5:47 am, my cell phone rang -- a call ring, not the alarm ring. It made me happy.

I went back to sleep with a fat cat on my back and a kitten on my side.

Until 6:32 am, when the automated phone system called me to let me know the district's schools were closed.

I forgave the automated phone system, and went back to sleep.

So how to spend this glorious free day?
  • Playing with FrontPage and my website
  • Polishing disseration
  • Reading/editing LIFE CHOICES
  • Creating budget for the month and fool-proof ways to stick to it
Tonight, I'm going to see One in Three. I thought it only ran last weekend and I'd missed it, but it actually got extended through next week. Awesome!

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Plan

So the "Does Criss need a new job?" question has been answered with an emphatic, "Yes, I do believe so." It is now time to put A Plan into action.

I should be a pretty marketable individual. But all my job experience is in education, which apparently is synonymous with "Jack Squat" in the non-education world. Funny. In a very non-funny way. But I won't jump on that soapbox today.

The Plan is to start applying to jobs now. This means I'm not really giving this semester much of a chance, but that's okay with me. I'm still going to put effort into my job, I promise. I just know I won't be going back to it, because too many aspects of it irritate the living bejeezus out of me.

Since I am notorious for having absolutely NO self-discipline, and because the Internetz has been known to suck entire days from my life, I must formulate a detailed Plan to keep my butt in gear. And to keep my sanity from imploding.

The Schedule:
  • Leave school by 5:00 every day. Screw it if I still have other carp to do; at 5:00 I'm out.
  • Limit weekday Internetz time at home to 6:00-8:00. The first hour can be fun stuff, like email and blogs and Facebook (when we're on speaking terms), but the second hour has to be work: applying for jobs, updating resume, fixing dissertation, editing novels.
  • Get off the computer at 8:00 and join the World of the Living. (Namely Freddy.)
  • Be in bed by 10:30, so I can at least have enough sleep to face the soul-suckingness of the day job.
If anyone out there is looking for a passionate, motivated, hard-working bilingual (almost trilingual) employee, please let me know. I have references.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Freddy sent me this, from an editorial in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. (I tried to post it yesterday, but the Internets was broken. It made me angry.)

I am neither Democrat nor Republican. I am an educator. I am an American.

I should remember today as a significant day in American history.

Jan. 20, 2009: My son turned 14 today. It was a happy day.

I remember a day in 1963 — Nov. 22. I was in a classroom learning with other children. We were first graders. JFK was assassinated that day. I remember the principal, Mr. Jones, saying that word over the PA system — assassinated. We did not know its meaning, but we knew from watching the adults that it made everyone sad. We went home early, but it was not a happy day. It was a significant day in American history. I was in a classroom with other children.

I remember that day.

I remember a day in 1986 — Jan. 28. I was a teacher and was in my classroom teaching children. The Challenger fell from the sky on that day. I remember the principal, Mr. Walker, telling us over the PA about it. I had to leave my room so my kids would not see me fighting back tears. I was a coach and coaches didn't cry.

I had wanted badly to be in Krista McAuliffe's shoes, to be the first teacher in space. I was a science teacher and I was jealous. Now she and the others were gone. It was not a happy day. It was a significant day in American history. I was in a classroom with children.

I remember that day.

I remember a day in 2001 — Sept. 11. I was an Assistant Principal. I went to a classroom to watch a TV with children. There was no TV in the office. I had been in a meeting that was interrupted with the news that something significant was happening, so I went. I needed to be in a classroom with children.

Together, we watched the second twin tower fall. I remember asking the kids if we were watching a repeat of what had happened earlier when the first tower fell (I had heard) and they told me, no, this is the second tower and we were watching it live as it fell. We were silent. Again, I had to fight back tears. It was not a happy day. It was a significant day in American history. I was in a classroom with children.

I remember that day.

I will remember Jan. 20, 2009.

It was a happy day. Somehow, I found myself having to fight back tears. Our country elected the first black president in our history, and he took the oath of office with more than a million people watching on the Washington Mall. It was a significant day in American history. I will remember what that many people in Washington, D.C., looked like. I will remember the music by Yoyo Ma and Itzhak Perlman. I will be there with our BHS band in March.

I will remember how Chief Justice John Roberts messed up his lines. If I were in front of that many people, I might do the same. A President named Barack. I guess if I can be Priddy, he can be Barack. I will remember how toward the end of his address, he referenced a moment in history when George Washington inspired the troops at the very gravest time during the American Revolution and how he made the connection to the present.

I believe he has great social awareness. I hope he succeeds. Hope is a word I've heard a lot recently and I like that word. I believe it is a good word and should be used more by educators.

Jan. 20 was a significant day in American history. I will remember this day. I was in a classroom with children. I was a principal. I did not make a speech over the PA like Mr. Jones or Mr. Walker.

I sent an e-mail.

I am an American. I am an educator.

May God bless teachers.

— David Priddy, principal, Burleson High School, Burleson

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My two cents about Rev. Lowery's benediction

This started as a comment on Pam's note on Facebook about Rev. Lowery's benediction at the Inauguration, but then FB wouldn't let me finish what I wanted to say, so I decided to respond here.

I don't really get the "racist" part. Is it because he mentioned skin colors (black, brown, yellow, red, white)?

Race is a fact. It would be lovely if we could all be color blind, but we are not. Refusing to acknowledge that there are different skin pigments is not a step toward "color-blindness," it's just being silly. It's like saying men and women are THE SAME. No, we are not. Women can make babies, men cannot. See? They are different. (PS - there are other differences, too, but I won't bore you with them here.) Nobody said different was BAD -- if you made that assumption, that's your fault. Calling him He Who Must Not Be Named didn't make Voldemort go away, either; yes, we come in different colors. Why are we so afraid to point out the obvious?

Perhaps people took offense to what he said about each race/color?

Then you need to chill. Take that nasty chip on your shoulder, and put it somewhere safe. It makes you angry, and angry doesn't become you. (Or anyone, really.) He was making a reference to the song (see Pam's note for links to it), and then made up a couple more. If you didn't get the light tone of his delivery, then you're too uptight. Not everything has to be pompous. Relax. Enjoy life every once in a while -- smile. Don't take things so literally, your head will explode if you insist on being that literal.

Since I don't get the issue (seriously. Maybe I'm too dense? No, I must just be that racist, huh?), I'm responding to the comments left here:

Yes, we did just elect a black President. (And, I'm no election expert, but I'm pretty sure non-whites voted in the election as well. It wasn't "white people" who elected him, it was everybody.) That is one HUGE step in the right direction. But it it ONE step. We have a ton yet to take.

*EDIT: I like analogies, and this morning one hit me. Thirty years ago, we landed on the moon. That did not mean we established lunar colonies the next day (or, even, 30 years later). Again, ONE step in the right direction, but we are far from being done walking.*

Such as, the students who made a point to comment on the NaNo boards about "the black kids" (no, not in a nice way) the day after the election. Or, the guy who had an American flag flying upside down on his house on Inauguration Day (yes, a sign of distress. For the country). So, sure, a black man was sworn in as President. But that doesn't mean we "fixed" racism -- rich schools are still predominatly white, poor schools are still predominantly minorities. So, sadly, black still has to "get back."

Now, all the people up in arms about white embracing right... seriously? How overly defensive are you?

Have you never heard a prayer? Maybe I have immunity to this because I grew up Catholic so I heard this so often I just take it as a given. When you pray, you pray for help correcting the things that you're not doing well. It doesn't mean that everything you've ever done up to that point has been complete and utter evil; it means you are asking for guidance to continue on the right path (because, admit it, we all stray. Often). During the invocation, the other guy said, "Forgive us our trespasses." Are we all up in arms that he called us all trespassers??? No, because that would be silly. Yes, I know that some will point out the difference between "we" and "they;" perhaps that's what this is all about. It's a poem. He was following a pattern, a rhythm. Don't be so painfully literal.

And, no, he was not saying that whites are the only ones who need to embrace right. The same way he was not advocating that the red man get ahead, and the rest of us stay behind. If you got the spirit of what he was saying, what he said to/for each of the groups applied to all of the groups.

It's a poem... saying "and that white, and everybody else, embrace right, because although we have made great strides so far we need to make sure we continue moving in the right direction" kind of kills the rhythm. And, again, his choice of words goes back to the song he was referencing.

Stop being so literal. Stop looking for a fight. Rev. Lowery was playing with words. Smile and enjoy the wordplay.

And let's all get over the chips we like to stack on our shoulders.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mid-Life Crisis... at the tender age of 31

I have a lot of anger. And resentment. And anger.

I don't know exactly where it's all coming from, but it mostly gets taken out on my students.

A big chunk of the anger comes from them -- from the apathy running rampant through them. It kills me. I can't deal with it. I wish I could absorb it, at least a teeny, tiny part of it, so I could let so much of this slide off my back. Or over my head. Whichev.

The problem is I have a hard time understanding apathy. I care too much, that's usually been my problem. And when passion, enthusiasm, and energy meet with apathy... well, they get buried deep in the festering tar pit of apathy and eventually emerge, bubbling to the top, as boiling, bitter bile.

And anger and resentment.

There's anger and resentment about other things, too. Things that are over, but that doesn't mean that *poof* the resentment is gone.

Bush is gone. That's good. But he was bad. He did bad things. And stupid things. And, the worst part, is We The People let him do them.

Yes, we need to get over the past, because, as Mufasa says, "It doesn't mattah, it's in the past!" However, we can't just go, "Okeley-dokeley!" and walk away. We need to fix his screw-ups, and we need to remember what happened so we don't do it again. And we need to find a way to bring our schools back to passing, which at this point -- and no, this is not all Bush's and NCLB's fault, the system was ailing before they came along -- will require a complete overhaul. An education revolution.

Maybe tomorrow I'll wear my beret. And grow a beard. (Oh, wait -- I can't do that. What about growing my leg hair? Is that revolutionary enough? People probably won't want to depict that on t-shirts, though... and I can't say I blame them.)

...

This was supposed to be a cathartic blog post. It was supposed to bring me some sort of epiphany to help me get rid of the anger, so I could have a good day tomorrow. Instead, it turned into mumbled rambling... if I were not sick with The Sickness of Death, I might have been able to think more clearly and pull off this blog post.

I need a lead box. Where I can put the Apathy, so it will not affect me.

I need to let go of the anger and embrace the togetherness. The aisle-crossing. I need to be as big as the moment we lived today, the new era we are living. (I'm not feeling overly confident about my abilities.)

Or maybe I need some medication. Which is probably not a bad idea, but that takes time and money. Also, I deeply resent having to get on medication merely to deal with my job. There is something wrong with a profession that drives so many of its members to anti-depressants.

At least I know one thing: with a mid-life crisis at 31, I'm dying at 62. I don't have to stress out about having enough retirement funds.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I'm sick.

This may not be a blog-worthy event for all you mere mortals, but, you see, I never get sick. It's one of my superpowers: I have an Immune System of STEEL.

I have worked hard through the years to hone this skill; babysitting since my early teens (that's how I got chicken pox as a junior in high school, watching the nursery during church choir rehearsals), then working with 1-2 year-olds in a daycare my last years of college, then straight to High School, where I was locked in a poorly-ventilated classroom day in and day out with 160 different germ carriers - and that's not even mentioning the Hallways.

As a result of this grueling conditioning, I do not get sick. Sure, every now and then I might get allergies, but that's nothing. The only time that causes a problem is when my nose is stuffed up enough that I can't get enough oxygen in my brain to replace all the air I'm expelling through talking.

But this weekend, ladies and gentlemen, I got sick. Fever-sick. Lying-in-bed-like-a-worthless-lump sick. And it was not fun.

As a result of The Sickness, I have not accomplished a fraction of an iota of what I was supposed to get done this weekend. And that has me in a less-than-happy mood.

However, I did make a remarkable discovery...

For the past few weeks, I had decided to stop drinking sodas. I figured it was healthier to not drink all that high fructose corn syrup (or aspertame, depending on my mood at the time), so I had cut them out of my diet.

And I got sick.

Last night, when I was battling The Sickness and The Sickness seemed to be winning, I asked Freddy if we had any soda in the house... we did; he shared his Diet Dr. Pepper with me.

This morning, I woke up feelingmuch better (as in, I could rise from the bed).

Are high fructose corn syrup (or aspertame) and carbonation my yellow sun?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Weekend Update

This was a highly unproductive weekend.

I didn't make a concrete lists of to-dos, but I had general ideas:
  • take the car in for an oil change
  • type the last pages of edits on the bloody dissertation
  • catch up on blogs I've meant to write, both here and on another blog
  • create the semester exam for my level 3 classes
Things I actually accomplished:
  • this blog post
Okay, fine, that's not entirely true: Freddy and I have done some cleaning up around the house, and I finally posted on Freecycle items we'd been meaning to give away or get rid of. (Turns out, lots of people want wetsuits and red velvety curtains.) We also took the two bags of trash bags full of clothes down to Goodwill, along with other stuff that needed to go. And we cleared out some more tubs of stuff out to the shed. And I am writing to you lovely people sitting at a proper desk, not couch -- meaning the mountain of paper and debris that used to reside on this work surface has also been conquered.

So, some cleaning was accomplished. And little annoying things that have been needing to be done got done. Not a total loss of a weekend, all in all...

My problem is that I have a nasty habit of quitting while I'm ahead.

The first 18 pages of my dissertation? Written in one weekend. The last 5-10 pages? Took months.

Whenever I start working on something (laundry, cleaning the house), I start out strong and get a lot done quickly. And then I see that I'm doing well... so I give myself a break. And slow down. And never finish what I started.

Since I have no self-discipline, I can't make myself go back and finish. So I'll do three loads of laundry, but the last load remains in the dryer forever (if I've done four loads of laundry, the clothes stay in the washer... which means moldy clothes, which is nasty. And counter-productive, since I then have to wash the clothes again). And the socks never get matched up.

I'll do an awesome job of cleaning up the bathroom, but then never do anything about straightening up the bedroom.

And I'll stretch out three hours of work on my master's into a month and a half of dilly-dallying.

Meh.

Another productive blip on my weekend: yesterday was the first meeting for the writers group formed from interested Wrimos in the area. I took the first chapter of my 2004 NaNo; I had done some massive chopping before taking it to the group, so I was pretty pleased with myself to begin with, but their feedback and suggestions helped me figure out ways to make the chapter even better. So, I'm excited. Tomorrow I should sit down and get some more writing done (on the dissertation and the novel).

Or I might go on a laundry spree. You never know.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

My Superpowers

  • Can harness the power of static electricity to shock anything and everyone -- can blow out entire PBX phone stations with a single touch! Powers become stronger in cold weather.
  • Able to manipulate the time-space continuum to make entire hours disappear as soon as she sits down at her laptop.
  • Impervious to pain during dental work (thanks to years of dental work done by bad dentists).
What are your superpowers?

Monday, January 05, 2009

First day back at school = fail.

I fully planned to stay at school until 5:00 to finish putting together my semester exams and reviews. Because of the ice and freezing rain, I left at 4:00 (school's out at 3:45). I fully intended to do the work at home, but never got that far.

Nor did I finish typing in the edits to my dissertation. The dumb cat kept getting in my lap, which makes typing very hard. So I read my book instead.

Then I took a nap.

All in all, a pretty worthless evening. Hopefully I can manage to be more productive tomorrow.

PS: thank you to my readers! All... three of you. TRIPLED IN SIZE WITH ONE POST! :P

Friday, January 02, 2009

9 Goals for 2009

"New Year's Resolutions" has become a bad word. If you say you're making "resolutions," you're not saying you're resolving to do things in the new year; the modern connotation of the word is that you are making a list of things at which you will FAIL this year, probably within the first week.

It's much trendier to say you're setting "goals" for the new year. So that's what I'm doing. Because I am hip and trendy.

Earlier in 2008, my sister started talking about this Dave Ramsey guy and about making budgets and getting out of debt. She lured my mom and stepdad to the Dark Side and they've gone all gung-ho on this debt-free life; when they were in town to see Freddy's last show, my stepdad was reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, with all these nifty worksheets to get yourself on a budget and pay off your debt. I expressed interest, in that, "Yes, when I cross everything else off my list I'll look into it" way. He left the book with me.

I need to write a post dedicated just to the book, because it does kind of throw your financial belief system into a tizzy. But in a good way. Because our current financial belief system, here in the Grand Ol' US of A, is really screwed up.

But, for now: Goal #1 for 2009: Get out of debt. We can get everything except for student loans and the mortgage paid off probably by summer, of not spring break, and then start saving up and buying things (with cash) and finally having a savings account worthy of being called that. (Freddy is mostly on board with this plan... he hasn't read The Book yet, and I don't know how much he's buying of what I'm relaying to him, but I trust he'll come around. He is a smart guy, after all, and this stuff makes sense.)

On Monday we got a storage shed (just a little one; paid cash for it, thankyou, did not open a Home Depot credit account), for all the crap that's been cluttering up "the office." You see, we have this extra bedroom. This room was supposed to be an office, for all the writing and translating and so on that I should be doing. Instead? The "office" is a black hole for anything and everything I don't want to find a place for right now. My laptop lives in the living room, where we actually have added a desk. Now, the main reason the desk is in the living room is because it was too much hassle for the two of us to try to maneuver that thing into the "office," which is at the end of the twisty hall, but another reason was because there was no room in the "office" to put this desk. The saddest thing? No, I don't even use the desk out in the living room. Because it's cluttered with more crap. I write to you now, dear readers, from the couch. Where I do most of my computer work. (And we wonder why I have back and neck pain issues?)

Goal #2 for 2009: De-clutter the house. This includes taking the bikes out of the "office" and into the storage shed, taking all the masses of boxes and storage tubs other junk out of the "office" and into the shed or out to Goodwill, and finding a place for the junk we actually use. Which is probably going to be a very small percentage of the junk we currently own. There should be another blog post about de-cluttering in general, big and little things, with some tips that hopefully you will find helpful. (Though, really? Not so likely. Because the only person that reads this blog is Marcy, and I got the one big tip I'm super excited about sharing? I got from her. So she already knows it.)

Goal #3 for 2009: Submit my dissertation and claim my Master's degree. It's written, but needs read-throughs and edits. (But, instead of doing that, I'm blogging. Because I'm smart and productive and disciplined like that.)

Goal #4 for 2009: Edit LIFE CHOICES and begin querying agents. Now that the dissertation's not hanging over my head, and I've finished the one big freelance assignment I'd been working on forever, I can work on my fun writing guilt-free. Also, I have written three full novels, two plays, and have one novel that's desperately wanting me to finish it. I really need to start doing something with all those works.

Goal #5 for 2009: Blog more regularly. Both on this blog and my teaching one. I want to say I'll post once a week, but who knows if that'll work. We'll try. (NO! Do or do not -- there is no try!!!)

Goal #6 for 2009: Start a compost pile. When I shared this with Freddy, he got all practical and asked me what I was planning on doing with the compost. My first answer was "keep it out of landfills," but somehow that didn't seem to be a good enough answer. This leads me to Goal #7 for 2009: Plant a vegetable garden. Probably a very small one. But it's a start. Baby steps, people!

Goal #8 for 2009: Figure out the job thing. Do I still want to teach? Do I want to stay where I am, or do I want to move up to college-level? Do I want to move into some sort of admin position? Do I want to be an IT? Could I quit teaching and do the translating/editing this full-time? It's all up in the air right now. I'll keep you posted.

Goal #9 for 2009: Be a better wife. Help out around the house more -- right now Freddy does pretty much all the housework. He works less hours than I do, most of the time, so I rationalize the guilt away with that thought, but still. Spend less time on the computer when I am home; spend more time with him. Do things together (we spend a lot of time just sitting, watching TV. Good TV, but still.) Not let work and other stuff overwhelm me, to the point where I don't have anything left for him.

I know lists usually have 10 items, but I like 9 for 2009. And I can't think of a 10th item that's worthy. So there you are. What are your "goals" for the New Year?

Happeh noo yeer from I Can Has Cheezburger? (In case you need some more ideas.)