26 December 2008

jack's gone.

we took him to the vet this morning at 8:00 am. i'm spending the day in bed.

25 December 2008

not a good christmas.

so . . . it's christmas day and my cat, Jack, is dying.

steve had to work, my car [complete with broken-out back window] is still parked at the Portland airport [a story i still need to sit down and type out], and i'm alone on christmas night with a cat who won't quit wailing.

his gums are all ulcerated, and he's stopped drinking and eating.

he's been sick with chronic kidney disease for almost a year. through subcutaneous fluids and special cat food, he's made it pretty far. so, we knew it was coming.

however, about six weeks ago, we took him to the vet--i was sure he was going to be put to sleep. the vet was encouraging, though, and gave him a steroid shot and sent us on our way. he said he might have another 3 to 6 months if we were lucky, but at least another month.

he was doing pretty well--still wasting, but alert & fairly active.

then, i went away for a week. i came home to a cat who may not have eaten the entire time i was gone. i know it's not my fault or steve's, but i never considered that he'd just give up if i wasn't at home with him. and, that's what it seems like he did.

so, he's not really doing anything but crying, like he's in a good deal of pain. we have to wait until morning to take him to the vet . . . so he'll be at about 36 hours of feeling like total shit by the time we can get there.

and that's if they'll take us first thing in the morning.

i'm a wreck. i can't stop crying, and this christmas sucks.

21 December 2008

where do i think I'M going?

i have a sneaking suspicion that i'm not getting home today, either. hmph. snow is hitting the PNW hard, from seattle to eugene it looks like several more inches of snow today.

oh. my. god.

i'm never getting home. i do fly into dallas today, so i'll probably end up stuck there. nice.

20 December 2008

Shopping in Pittsburgh.

i did spend a good amount of time shopping this week . . . just sick of Roseburg's lack of stores. it was a nice change!

i hit Pat Catan's craft & art supplies, because we don't have them in OR, and they're cheaper than art supply shops in OR. I bought some acrylic paint [expensive hues--green gold and cobalt teal, for example--that are 40% off here, every day], some lumieres [which i've never had, but want to try SOOOO badly], and some beading supplies. I bought about 150 dollars worth of art and jewelry goodies. LOL.

i also got a chance to shop at Marshall's, which netted me three new cardigan sweaters and a little wool bolero sweater for work. i am a big-time cardigan junkie, especially when they are completely obnoxious.

i buzzed through Arvey office supply on the North Side of pittsburgh . . . bought a ream of paper, some other packages of papers and envelopes in 100% recycled brown paper. The ream of paper is a replacement for one that recently ran out--i guess i'm a big-time paper snob, even when it comes to what i put in my home printer. lol.

i also stopped at old navy. there's one in eugene, about 75 minutes from roseburg, but it's nasty--always sloppy and dirty, and small. so i stocked up on tee shirts and also got a sweater.

a note on tee shirts. my boobs are big--double Ds. my cats like to latch on to my boobs when i hold them, and they often pick little holes in my tee shirts, along my chest. so, i run through tee shirts like crazy. :)

so, i'm excited about my haul, as unspectacular as it really is.

my coolest purchase is this huge elf . . . i bought her at Roxanne's Dried Flowers in the Strip District of Pittsburgh . . . she's handknit, and her clothes are felted wool. she was pricey, but she's adorable. there will be a photo forthcoming, i promise.

can you tell i'm bored? well, i am bored AND i want to be at home, where i can play with my new goodies!

Trapped in West Virginia.

so, i checked the airlines online today, packed my bags, and went to the airport. then, portland's airport closed. so all flights into portland, oregon were cancelled for the day. sigh.

so, i waited for my parents to drive back to the airport to retrieve me, and now i'm waiting to leave tomorrow at 4:30, flying to dallas and then to portland.

oh my god. then, in my parents' garage, i realized my expensive, supposedly sturdy all-terrain duffel has split along one side. if i HAD flown today, my belongings would have ended up spilled all over a plane or airport's back room . . . not pretty.

so i have to go out in the morning and purchase a new suitcase or duffel to get my things home. sigh. a bit of a mess.

and, i miss my husband and my cats. i wanna go home.

16 December 2008

Gabriel Brothers.

i'm here, in northern west virginia, at my parents' house. today, i'm using wifi at the local hospital . . . my grandmother is having some kind of outpatient surgery today, so i'm sitting here with my dad. :)

i'm tickled . . . though i hate shopping here for the most part, there is a store named Gabriel Bros. here in Weirton. We don't have these out west, and the one here in town is better than most of the others in the chain that i've been to. so, i went out there yesterday afternoon and spent about dollars on two huge bags of fabulosity. :)

I bought . . .

1. a pair of merrell shoes--brown leather mary-janes that look very artisan, with boiled wool trim and a big button closure on the strap . . . i tried a pair of these on last spring at Little's Shoes [in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh], and they were certainly more $$$ than the $19.99 i paid last night. woot!

2. two Woolrich shirts for the big Steve . . . one wool, one flannel, each one was 12.99. very nice, and he's become a woolrich junkie since we've moved to oregon. there is a damp kind of cold there, one that he feels always needs to be combatted with thick, plaid flannel. i might be married to paul bunyan's long-lost [but quite oafy & a little gay] brother.

3. two burned-out velvet scarves--one beige and pieced with lace, and one black with fringe. really lovely, and 4.99 apiece.

4. a thin silk scarf in black, and a cotton batik scarf for 99 cents each.

5. a sisal boot/shoe scraper for the porch for 9.99 . . . i've looked everywhere for one, and only could find them through ll bean, and i didn't want to pay that much for one when i was actually going to be scraping mud and dog poop on it. lol.

6. a pair of Anne Taylor suede flats with grograin ribbon bows on the front for 7.00 on clearance. holy crap!

7. a black cotton, gored skirt with blue embroidery, from Anne Taylor, for 7.99.

8. a label-free silk cardigan in a purple/wine color for 9.99.

9. two pads of paper from Urban Outfitters and a 6-pack of thank you notes from Anthropologie . . . 99 cents each. the notecards alone were 14.95 regular price!

10. an iPod charger for 5.99 and a new pair of mini, custom-fit ear buds for 3.99. i left mine at home, so they're for the plane!

i may go back and snap up a few more of the Urban Outfitters pads . . . they had composition books, too, that were moleskine-sized and also 99 cents each, and would always make good stockpiled gifts for RAKs [random acts of kindness] for mail artist friends and poet friends alike.

oh, gabriel bros. how i miss them.

13 December 2008

A Poem.

It's been a while since I put up any poetry, and I thought with AWP looming closer and closer, I'd shake off a few older pieces.  I wrote this, actually, at AWP in Atlanta, almost two years ago.  My friend Adam laughed at it, because it was a "hot" poem.  I frowned, and sent it out.

It was accepted for publication at the first place I sent it, and almost in the same form it in which it was originally written.

I had just attended a Saturday workshop given by Ilya Kaminsky in Pittsburgh, at Gist Street.  I was surprised by how handsome he was, on top of how talented and articulate.  I wrote this a few days later.  He really did miss a belt loop on the morning of the workshop.

Learning Russian

He missed a belt loop
that morning, drank instant coffee
in a Pittsburgh hotel,
hurried to dress.

His shirt untucked,
underneath a pilled crewneck sweater,
Shetland wool. Finger in ear,
he adjusted his own volume. I wondered,
Why would he own a wool sweater
if he lives in Northern California?

or, maybe that was why it was pilled,
pulled from the back of a closet
part of his East Coast equipment
with suitcase, garment bag, umbrella.

He could be the poet who ended my marriage;
hair hung in his Eastern block face.
Younger than me, more famous
with one slim book
than I could be with four.

I could be his American scandal.
His glasses fogged as I stepped out
of the shower, wet handprints
on tattersall stomach, pressed
a warm imprint on his back,
his rumpled khakis softened, steamed.

He read me a poem he wanted
to teach later that morning,
his voice a Transylvanian whisper.
I smelled powdered milk
on his close mouth,
his words,
my humid neck.

12 December 2008

my christmas cards.

this is the image--in my current, surprisingly festive header--that i used to make my christmas cards this year.  i have just made them, tonight . . . so i'll probably end up addressing them in an airplane this weekend.

and a note on bracelets.

i love bracelets.  i love looking at skinny women, in their skinny-wristed bangles, and wishing i could do that.  but, bangles are usually too small for me and my meaty wrists . . . even when i'm thinner, i have thick wrists.

so, my bracelets are always made to fit a beefy wrist . . . because i HATE getting bracelets and then not being able to wear them because they are weirdly too tight.

i should open a chubby-girl bracelet shop on etsy.  lol.

11 December 2008

christmas gifts . . .

so if you ever thought i was kinda scroogey . . . these are going out in the mail tomorrow as surprises for a few mail art friends.

katie prins in new jersey [BigKay] and juli waller in canada [grrrdjules] will get the "k" and the "j" respectively, and the "s" is for sue cheffins in the UK [susietex].

they are made, perhaps obviously, with vintage + new beads, with vintage buttons and game pieces.

oh, i love my dremel.  i can put holes in all kinds of crap.

10 December 2008


sooooo . . . i rec'd an email from the Dean of Arts & Sciences that asks me to make an appointment to speak with the dean this week.

apparently, a student has complained that i used profanity in a class meeting sometime in the last week or two. i am concerned, as it's probably going to result in disciplinary action during my first probationary quarter at the school.

however, i'm hoping that all goes well and that we're able to come to some sort of agreement and verbal warning. i do love this school--and i'm really not feeling good about the situation.

on top of the stress i'm already feeling about the meeting [which is tomorrow afternoon], i also only know that the student reported that the incident had taken place "in the last week or so." to my knowledge, i haven't used profanity in the last week or so . . . i'm hoping that it's not a case of my forgetting that i casually, repeatedly drop the F-bomb in all my writing classes.

about a month ago, i did completely blow up at my 8:00 am class, though . . . and i'm thinking that the situation in question was THAT morning. i had 4 to 5 older [25-40 years old] male students in my 8:00 class, and on that day, we were in the lab. two of the students came into class late, then proceeded to talk loudly with the other students in that small group about football, news, and other unrelated-to-class items. by 15 minutes into class, they finally started doing some half-baked work.

these classes are 50 minutes long. with 8 to 10 minutes left in the class meeting--after arriving late and being disruptive--three of these male students put on their coats, packed up their books, and STOOD UP to talk to one another, again about unrelated topics.

i said something . . . several things. about lack of respect, about showing up late, about packing up to leave before being dismissed, about my having to holler over top of chit-chat and how that wasn't fair to other classmates. all students sat down, silent.

i went on . . . saying, "don't sit down now. class is over. i'm done for today. just get out of here."

everyone sat still--no one moved to leave.


really nice. and classy.

i apologized immediately to the students who were still there--those who were still trying to finish their work, and those i didn't include in the group of students who were so rude. and, the next class meeting, i apologized to the class at large.

it was really, really unprofessional, and i didn't mean to do it--i was angry, and i still am angry when i think about the situation, but i didn't need to swear at the class. i said all of this to them--and they all seemed understanding, saying other instructors they've had have occasionally done the same thing. i didn't assume that meant everything was okay, but i hoped all had smoothed itself out.

but, this HAS to be the occasion that a student is referencing in reporting my behavior. i am horrified to have to defend myself. i'm going to try very hard not to defend my behavior at all--and just be honest. i know every action has a context, but even given this context, i'm really embarrassed.

ugh. just what i need in the middle of final exam week. to feel like an amateur, unreliable instructor. to feel like the school will now think it made a mistake hiring me. hissssss.

06 December 2008

oh, tannenbaum.

we picked out our tree today, and decorated it . . . it's a gloriously big tree, between 8 and 9 feet tall.  i had a bit of a sad day, as i realized how much of our christmas stuff had to be left behind when we moved . . . we still have lots of tree ornaments, but not much else.  sigh.

but, the tree looks great, and we tied red and green ribbons on the necks of all the crows in the house [don't ask--we have a lotta crows].

05 December 2008

A shout out for James McAvoy

While grading on Thursday morning, I watched Rory O'Shea Was Here, a film in which James McAvoy plays a quadriplegic guy who befriends another guy with CP. Regardless, at the start of the film, he's in a wheelchair, but wearing a black leather jacket, a nose ring and bleached hair in short spikes . . . and holy crap if he doesn't look just like my ex-boyfriend Jeff Lewis. I don't have a copy of a photo of Jeff on my computer from when he was younger, but here is a shot of him in 2002 that I found on the internet.

I haven't talked to Jeff in years . . . he called me about 10 days before my wedding [six years ago] to tell me he was getting divorced. That was the last time we spoke . . . he lives in the Houston area, I think, where he's been for at least 15 years.

I never even really thought James McAvoy was as handsome as people claim . . . but now I might have to reconsider. Even rocking a wheelchair [which Jeff didn't], he made me a bit misty for my misspent youth and the romances therein.

Santa better get it together . . .

Steve's been sick for a week with a nasty intestinal flu . . . out of work and out of commission. So, not a lot of dough for the holidays, and not a lot of funds available for me to pack away as pin money during my upcoming trip to Pittsburgh.

I had plans for some tattoo work, for a shopping trip to Arvey [paper heaven, or the stationers on the North Side], and to plow through Dick's and Sports Deli for Steeler goodies to bring back for Steve. I also wanted to spend hours in Gabriel Bros. in Weirton, because we don't have one here. No dice. I have to be frugal.

This also means that I can't raid Christmas Market in Eugene for lots of goodies to take with me for family in WV . . . or goodies for me that I could buy there under the guise of Christmas shopping for the family in WV.

I hate being broke.

I asked my parents for three pairs of shoes and three books for the holiday. This may be all Santa can offer this year.

Steve can't even get off the couch long enough to come pick out a tree with me! And because of the move, we have very little holiday decor, and no $$$ to buy new stuff.


04 December 2008

McDonald's in Roseburg.

so yesterday, in the hour i had off from work between 2:00 and 3:00 pm [on wednesdays, i teach at 8:00 am, 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and then from 5:30 to 8:20 pm], i decided to stop at McDonald's and buy something to eat.

i'm sitting in my car, trying to decide if i want to be a complete swine, or if i'm just going to try to be an average person with an average appetite.  i really want a 20-piece case of chicken mcnuggets. but, i opt for a double cheeseburger, and an order of fries.  no drink, just the sandwich and fries.

at the first window, i had the cashier my 3.20, and from behind him i hear, "mrs sargent!"

one of my students.

oh thank goodness for small miracles, that i wasn't buying a jenga-tower of mcnuggets with a shake and fries . . . and pies and a whole hot mess of fat & acne.  no one wants to be the chubby teacher caught in the drive thru buying enough food for three people.

so, bullet dodged.  this time.

So I'm not a Dancing Girl. Officially.

i didn't get a rejection letter, but i also didn't get a place on the just-posted 2009 lineup at dancing girl press.  fuuuuuhhhck.

but, on a glass-half-full note, no one i know is on the list, either.  i'd be crackin' skulls if i saw anyone i hated on there.  

03 December 2008

Instructor Observation

So one of my classes was observed by the dean of arts & sciences at UCC today. It is one of my better classes, but they were atrocious today.

No one wanted to work on their in-class activity, everyone talked over one another, asked unrelated questions, and basically horrified me. One student actually asked me, "What is, exactly, MLA citation format?" Oh. My. God.

Nothing like being a probationary faculty member and having the worst observation ever. Students who haven't attended half the class meetings showed up and asked ridiculous questions, and I kept waiting to wake up in bed, that today was some sort of nightmare.

Now, it is the penultimate class before finals, so the dean has to realize that he is going to observe some all-out student hysteria, but I would've passed out Ritalin if I would have known this was how things were going to go.


so Dancing Girl Press is getting ready to announce their 2009 chapbook lineup, and while I've not received a rejection letter thus far, I've also not received any sort of acceptance notice. So, it looks like I'm not going to have a chapbook yet . . . and I really love that press.

01 December 2008

Oh, yes. There will be author worship.

I can't stop drooling . . . and I don't have to share a hotel room with anyone.  I can't imagine it will top NYC in 2008, but I love Chicago, and I'm excited to get to explore for a few days again.

AWP 2009 in Chicago

I found a crazy good deal through priceline where my air travel + hotel was really cheap together, so I was able to stay in a really nice hotel; though it's about 12 blocks from the conference, it's still on Michigan, so the walk will be great.

The hotel is also really close to the modern art museum, and since i will get into Chicago early in the morning [my flight is a red-eye, which saved me from spending another night in the hotel], I can drop off my bags at the lobby with the concierge and go to the museum for the first part of the day, before I can officially check into my room.