Archives for March 2008

Just Like Dead Poets Society, Only Not

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on a proposal that has required me to do some research and basically reacquaint myself with a subject that I haven’t studied in about fifteen years.

(Was the information in that paragraph vague enough for you? Good! More vaguery to come!)

And last week, when I started to worry that I was missing huge, critical chunks of information, I thought about one of my college professors who is an expert in the field I’ve been researching. In a fit of spontanaiety, I decided to email her. Because technology, it is oftentimes quite handy.

So I emailed my former professor, Dr. H, and told her what I was working on. I asked her for some input, thanked her for pouring into the life of a crazy college student (THAT WOULD BE ME) way back in the day and basically gave her a summary of what I’ve been up to since the last time we talked.

Including my most recent hobby of RANDOMLY DROPPING BACK INTO FORMER PROFESSORS’ LIVES VIA EMAIL.

Not to mention my ongoing hobby of making former professors twitch when they see the excessive use of sentence fragments on my blog.

A few days later I found a very gracious reply from Dr. H in my inbox, and I was a little surprised by how thrilled I was to hear from her. Dr. H was one of my favorite teachers because she not only knew her stuff – she also knew how to communicate information in a way that made it easy to remember. I took five different courses from her in undergraduate and graduate school, and I really did learn in each one of them.

Dr. H also had a huge impact on my writing, especially when I was a freshman and she very kindly pointed out my tendency to end pretty much every other sentence with “etc.”

For example: “Southern architecture also serves as symbolism in the works of Welty, Faulkner, etc.”

Or: “Plath’s poem Daddy features a narrator with a deep well of bitterness toward an absent father she perceives be cold, cruel, etc.”

If memory serves, the overuse of “etc.” was my eighteen year-old way of trying to cover up for the fact that I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. So I just held onto the hope that maybe if I tacked an “etc.” on the end of my sentences, my professors WOULD NEVER CATCH ON TO THE FACT THAT I HAD NO MORE INFORMATION TO SHARE.

Oh, I was very crafty.

(Now is when I could tell you about the time I played the role of bathrobe-wearing, chain-smoking Martha in Who’s Afraid of Viriginia Woolf for Dr. H’s Modern Drama class – and for my costume I opted to wear a plaid skirt with a matching sweater and THERE WAS EVEN PLAID ON THE SWEATER, Y’ALL because obviously I was all about KEEPIN’ IT REAL with my ACT-ING.)

(But I won’t be telling you about any of that because it would be far too embarrassing.)

As it turns out, Dr. H is retiring this spring. And as she looks back on her career and reflects on her legacy, I hope she knows what a difference she made in the life of a wide-eyed sorority girl who sported some mighty large acrylic hairbows back in the early 1990’s. There’s no question that I was just a middle-of-the-pack student – albeit one with some misguided delusions of intelligence – but Dr. H made me better. She really and truly cared about making her students better.

Thanks for everything, Dr. H.

And I wonder: are there teachers who had – or who continue to have – a major influence in your life?

Tell me all about ’em. Because I’m feeling sort of nostalgic.

(I may even break out a hair bow.)

(But I draw the line at wearing any sort of matching plaid ensemble.)

Outback Gift Card Winner

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Congratulations, Fresh Girl! Ye Olde Random.org has selected you as our $25 gift card winner!

If you’ll email me your mailing address, you should have the gift card in time for a lovely Friday night dinner.

And thanks, everyone, for such a great response!

It Promises To Be A Delightfully Caffeinated Weekend

When my husband walked in the door just a second ago, he handed me a bag from Publix.

Look what was inside!

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ALL BECAUSE OF YOUR COMMENTS. He said that so many of you mentioned it that we just had to try it.

So now, if you wouldn’t mind, I think y’all should leave comments about All The Great Meals Your Husbands Have Cooked On Friday Nights. The power of suggestion, you know.

I’m just sayin’.

It’s worth a shot, isn’t it?

And Also: Hallelujah For Some Half And Half

I am having the best time reading your comments about your everyday favorites. I’ve even started a list of things I need to try, with Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in the number one spot. Followed closely by Aquaphor lotion and Trader Joe’s body wash.

This is when it would be helpful if my town actually had, you know, a Trader Joe’s.

Also: WHO KNEW that so many of you are tea drinkers? Obviously I have very refined readers. Much like myself, of course.

Ahem.

Several of you have mentioned in the comments that you want to try Mentholatum for under-eye bags, and I want to make sure to be very clear about something (normally I would email the commenters individually, but with all the switching servers business of the last four days, I can no longer receive my comments via email, and here is where I am tempted to tell you all about how that has ROCKED MY WORLD IN MANY NOT-HAPPY WAYS, but I am determined to have a cheerful outlook about it because in the grand scheme of things, it’s SO not a big deal).

Where was I?

Rambling through some unending parenthetical sidenote?

Well. Yes. Of course.

ANYWAY, just bear in mind that if you use Mentholatum on your under-eye bags, you will be using a product that contains a fair amount of MENTHOL. Not to mention a great deal of CAMPHOR. So odds are that if you are not conditioned to Mentholatum’s mentholated potency, having the Mentholatum so close to your eyes may result in a good bit of eye-watering. Which might not be your ideal scenario.

Since I have used the Mentholatum since I was, well, two, I have a pretty strong tolerance for all its vapors and whathaveyou. But if you are even remotely sensitive to strong menthol odors, you may want to take a pass on putting this stuff under your eyes. Seriously. Because while it doesn’t bother me, that is probably because I have a high Mentholatum tolerance.

I just felt that I needed to make that perfectly clear. Or else my inbox might start filling up with subject lines that say, “MY EYES! MY EYES!”

And I would feel just terrible.

Happy Friday, y’all.

Everyday Favorites

When I was getting ready this morning (oh, I even took a shower, oh yes I did), I started thinking about a few of the simple, everyday items that make my mornings a little easier and a little bit more pleasant. These things aren’t necessities by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re helpful. Maybe even a tiny bit comforting.

You know, stuff like Eucerin moisturizer. Because it prevents my skin from cracking and falling off of my face. So in that sense the Eucerin performs a vital role in my skin care regimen.

Or Maxwell House French Roast coffee. Because it’s strong without being bitter. Inexpensive. And delicious, too.

Or my beloved Mentholatum, which costs all of $2, soothes my chapped lips and makes my sinuses snap to attention as soon as I remove the top from the jar. I’ve even used it to minister to some deeply resistant under-eye bags, and it did not disappoint. I heart it deeply.

None of these things are fancy. You can buy them at any drugstore (or, as we say in the South, AT THE WALGREENS). But they’re my early morning support network – I use each of them every single day before I snuggle into my spot on the couch and start what Alex calls “Mama’s quiet time Bible study.” They help me to wake up, feel reasonably presentable, and face the day.

So, internets, what are your everyday favorites? What inexpensive treats make your mornings a little easier? And for the sake of clarity, let’s classify “inexpensive” as less than $10, though I think my Eucerin costs $10.99, so CLEARLY I AM DISQUALIFIED.

Comment away, girls (and guys!). Can’t wait to read about your faves.

It’s A New Bloggy Day – So How About A Giveaway?

Have I ever told y’all that I love me some cheese fries?

Well, I do. I love me some cheese fries.

And I especially love the cheese fries from Outback. Because they are some potato-y, bacon-y, cheese-y, dipped in Ranch dressing-y deliciousness.

And since I am a fan of irony, I like to order them with a side salad and a diet Coke.

Plus, I always split the cheese fries with my husband, so hello? PORTION CONTROL.

Well, as it turns out, Outback is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, and because of that, they have made a very special gift available for you, the internets.

So if you’d like to win a $25 gift card to Outback, leave a comment and tell me your favorite thing to order when you eat there. And if you need an Outback menu refresher course, click here to check it out.

I’ll leave this giveaway open until Monday, March 31 – at which point I’ll use random.org to select our lucky (PROVIDENTIAL!) winner.

G’day, y’all!

(Sorry. I couldn’t help it. The whole “G’day” thing was way too tempting. I do apologize.)

This giveaway is now closed.