Sunday, April 27, 2014

On Not Being Stalked at the Grocery Store

Good morning, lovely readers!  I am up and bouncing around early today because my house is a mess, my yard is a mess, and sixteen Chaucer students are coming for dinner and a Monty Python movie tonight.  So there is much to do!

One of the things I had to do was go to the grocery store, and I am posting this brief tale at Mom's insistence.  She says it was "as embarrassing as sh!t" and that "you'd better put it on your computer thing so everyone can see what I have to put up with!"

This is called tough love, I believe.

So here's what happened:  Mom and I went to the Lowe's to get the really heavy duty cleaning supplies, and then we went to the Publix.  We go with a list, precious readers, because if we don't, we come home with three kinds of milk but no bread and have to go back.  And that makes us grumpy.

Having given Mom the half of the list labeled "salad stuff" (because Mom is the queen of salad making), I began to flit around the store, grabbing items in order off of the list.  Now, that is not the order in which they appear in the grocery store.  My list is, of course, alphabetical.  The grocery store is not.  So I was zigzagging around, grabbing things and carrying them to Mom's cart when I noticed that I was being stalked.

You see, everywhere I went, there was a nice young man in a Publix vest.  The same nice young man.  Around corners, near the freezers, by the sale items---everywhere.  I started to get nervous.  Surely, he wasn't following me?  I started flitting around faster, snatching items and then backtracking, to see if I could lose him.  No dice.  The more erratic my movements, the more quickly he followed.  It was creepy.  I started to grow alarmed.  Why was this Publix guy pursuing me with such vigor?  Did he think I was shoplifting?  Is there a rule against flitting in Publix?  Against shopping alphabetically?  I tell you, beloved readers, my heart was pounding, and not just because I was shopping at a near gallop.

Eventually, I stopped next to Mom and Mom's cart to rest and plan my next move.  That's when she gave me Exasperated Look #3 and said, "Do you realize that you have coffee dripping down the front of your shirt?"  And, lo! dearest readers, I did have coffee dripping down the front of my shirt.  Not just any coffee, but the coffee you can get for free if you get to Publix before 10am.  And, as you have probably guessed by now, I could see that the coffee was not only dripping down my shirt, but it had made a little trail on the floor.

I suppose you're giggling now, loyal readers, but honestly, I did not notice until that moment that 1. my hand was burning slightly from hot coffee, and 2. my stalker was carrying a mop.  It was a shameful moment, a horrible shameful moment when I realized that I had spent the last half hour darting through the aisles of the grocery store like Pac-Man in reverse, trailing little wet dots behind me that this dedicated employee was desperately trying to mop up before some other customer was gravely injured.  It is a terrible, dark day when you realize that the shopper from hell, she is you.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Brief Conversation with Mom: It's All in Her Mind

Me:  "Stop that right now!"

Mom:  "What?"

Me:  "You are flipping me the bird!"

Mom:  "No, I'm not."

Me:  "Not with your hands, but with your mind.  I can see it!  In your mind, you are giving me a giant middle finger."

Mom:  "I am very disappointed in you."

Me:  "Because I am wrong?"

Mom:  "Because it took you over forty years to notice."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My Friend Liz's Funniest Facebook Posts

Well, gentle readers, I was not planning to post tonight.  I have grading to do, and laundry, and torturing myself about having bought a book by George Will.*  However, my friend Liz is repeatedly hinting, prodding and even begging to be a part of one of my Funniest Facebook Statuses posts.  But instead of posting increasingly amusing statuses, Liz is just making more and more remarkable comments all over my facebook feed.

So here are my ten favorite posts from Liz; I have rearranged them into a paragraph so that they make a little story.  A suspicious, ambiguous story with lots of penises.  This is for you, Liz.  Just remember:  you asked for it.

My Friend Liz's Funniest Facebook Posts

No wonder you can't hit the green. You seem to think that my yard is part of the fairway.  Evil Fat-Laden potatoes.  Well, you ought to stop looking at their penises.  You'll have to pry that out of my cold, dean hands.  I have yet to see an unpretty penis.  Just have at it.  If I vaccinate the fish, they'll get autism. Everyone knows that. And autistic fish just swim in circles and stare aimlessly.  Oh, wait.  He has three layers of fur. He can only tolerate so much girl heat.  SACS is tough. It's kind of the raccoon of the regional accreditors.  Man. I was hoping for a duck penis.

*It's about Wrigley Field.  I must have all the books about the Cubs, so just you shut up right now.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Real Conversations with Mom: Grammar and Such

Mom:  "Now, I have a question for you."

Me:  "This is not one of those random questions which make me feel like a human encyclopedia, is it?"

Mom:  "Listen, I have told you that whenever I have a question, you are supposed to have the answer.  You have that doctor's degree, so you have to know everything I need you to know."

Me:  "That's not actually how it works."

Mom:  "That's how I want it to work!  Now, shut up and listen.  This is a grammar question.  Can I ask you a grammar question without you being a pain in the ass?"

Me:  "Yes.  I will answer a grammar question."

Mom:  "Why is it that you can't end a sentence with it?"

Me:  "It what?"

Mom:  "I told you not to be a pain in the ass!  The word it.  Why can't you end at sentence with it?"

Me:  "You can.  In fact, you just did.  Good job!"

Mom:  "That's not what they said on Raymond."

Me:  "You mean in the episode about Tom Sawyer?"

Mom:  "Yes."

Me:  "It really worries me that I knew exactly what you were talking about just then.  I'd never even watched that show until you came to live with me."

Mom:  "It really worries me that you have not answered my question.  Would you like this hot oatmeal in your lap?"

Me:  "She said that you can't end a sentence with a preposition.  Raymond ended a sentence with at."

Mom:  "What is a preposition?"

Me: "It's a word, usually a short word, that shows how its object relates to the rest of the sentence.  Like, on, of, at..."

Mom:  "Ass!"

Me:  "No.  Ass is not a preposition."

Mom:  "A-S, as?"

Me:  "Oh, yes, that is a preposition.  There is an old-fashioned rule that says that you have to keep the preposition next to its object--the thing it's relating to the rest of the sentence--rather than letting it dangle at the end."

Mom:  "Dangling?"

Me:  "Yes."

Mom: "No dangling asses?  This is a grammar rule?  Hee-hee."

Me:  "You know that's not what I said."

Mom:  "No dangling asses.  You know, there are lots of people doing grammar wrong if that's the rule."

Me:  "Mom."

Mom:  "Tee-hee!"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How to Hug Your Medievalist

I am happy to report, beloved readers, that I had a wonderful International Hug-a-Medievalist Day on March 31 this year.  I received all sorts of hugs, from the virtual to awkward to the snuggly.  There were, alas, a few doubters around me who thought I was making up the whole thing in some kind of sad cry for affection, and I was forced to forward electronic evidence as to this holiday's existence to these barbarians, but overall it was a very successful day.

Nevertheless, my colleague at another institution, Brian, pointed out that he cannot expect hugs from his students because his institution deeply discourages touching of any kind between professor and student.  And that Brian, he has a point.  I should have noted that I do not ask, beg, encourage or imply that my students should hug me on International Hug-a-Medievalist Day.  Yet, well, some of them do it anyway, and were I to refuse, it would shatter their precious hearts.  Moreover, there is the whole question of hugs from administrators and pottery instructors and British people and others who find the impulse to wrap one's arms around someone uncomfortable or even downright suspicious.

So I have created this table, my dears, to explain how and when to hug your local medievalist.  It is my hope that using these simple guidelines, you will be able to avoid awkwardness or inadvertent charges of sexual harassment next March 31.

How to Hug Your Local Medievalist:  A Helpful Table for the Uninformed

You are a:
May you hug your local medievalist?
Family member
Damned right!
With love and affection
You owe your local medievalist money
Close friend
Not only may, but must
Briefly, but fully
You have not bathed today
Casual friend
You may
While making an awkward joke
You have issues
Fellow medievalist
While making a joke in an archaic language
You are an art historian
Only if you are completely comfortable doing so (and not drunk)
Virtual hug preferred; side-hug, Duggar-style, may be acceptable
You cannot spell medievalist
You may
In public, so that no one gets the wrong idea
You are that creepy guy
Dean, provost or others of that ilk
Only with care, discretion and fake cheerfulness
Side-hug, preferably while holding a mug of coffee
You are about to assign the medievalist to the Committee from Hell
Former student
There’s no law against it
You gave him/her a bad rating on the Site That Shall Not Be Named
If your uncle’s father was an ally to the medievalist’s grandfather…yes
You sometimes forget to let go of other people’s body parts
You may.  But you won’t.
With claws in and a long-suffering look
You are a cat.

Monday, April 14, 2014

And Even More Funniest Facebook Statuses

You all seem depressed, precious readers.  Depressed and angry and bitter.  And afraid of bears.  Hopefully, posting your statuses will earn all of you a well-deserved hug.

But not by a bear.

And Even More Funniest Facebook Statuses

  1. If the person who has stolen all of my left socks would please step forward, I will promise that your death will be quick and painless.
  2. The response to tonight's Cosmos should probably not be my excitement that I could have a lecture hall with a bowling ball pendulum to swing into the audience.
  3. Every time another committee meeting is announced, I get the quiet urge to dump hot tea on someone’s genitals.  This is perfectly normal, right?
  4. I keep telling y'all to watch out for bears.
  5. That's right. Filed my taxes the day BEFORE they were due.
  6. OK, I want a bunch o' remote-controlled Roman Chariots.
  7. We need more Python-influenced public policy.
  8. Sudoku is a life skill?
  9. I sprouted a ladder from my chest.
  10. It’s just me, a dripping faucet, and hundreds and hundred of bluebooks.  And hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bluebooks.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Shelfies, Part II: The Home Edition

Greetings once again delightful readers!  As promised, here is Part II of my shelfies post, the one in which you are able to peek into the chaos which is my home o'books.  Mom says that when she first moved in with me, she had nightmares that she was being eaten by the books.   I solved that by purchasing a three-bedroom house.  You will note that none of these photos is from Mom's room.

Shelfies, Part II:  The Home Edition

We begin with my most respectable shelves, those which contain (mostly) books related to my scholarly work.  I have many more of these, of course, and most of my books of this type are actually at my office:

Respectable shelves purchased at Pier One

And I have a lovely shelf in the dining room with actual glass doors:

Contains books on pottery, gardening and cooking

Next are some giant shelves of science fiction and fantasy:

Hmm..there appears to be a pint of pottery glaze there

I also have some short, overfull shelves that desperately need to be replaced:

The pillow pet belongs to Spike the Cat

And some even shorter shelves that are probably not intended for books:

Wicker is not a good material for bookshelves

And, of course, I have a big shelf in the living room for dvds:

There is a naked photo of me here.  Also LOTR pez! 

Then things start to get desperate ridiculous.  My house was built in 1940, so it has a lovely little telephone shelf in the hallway.  It does not hold a telephone:

Loeb Classical edition lives next to Buffy, Season 8

Yet still there are too many books.  Luckily, I have a 2-shelf coffee table:

These are usually covered by a table runner, making this a hidden shelf

And a 2-shelf entertainment center:

Hoping the Wimpy Guy takes courage from Harry Potter

I also have books on my dresser, on the china cabinet, under the bed and in the bathroom.  Alas, there are no photos of them here because Mom says that all of those places are "dusty as sh!t, and you are not allowed to take any pictures until you fix that!  What do you mean, where is the dusting stuff?!  When was the last time you actually dusted something?  When?!"

This is a question that I do not wish to answer, beloved readers, so I will softly and suddenly vanish away....  *

*Don't worry, I'll be back.  With snark, of course.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Real Conversation with Mom: A Firm Opinion

Mom:  "The one thing I don't like about these jeans is the front pockets.  I can't get them to lay flat."

Me:  "You could try ironing them."

Mom:  "You could sh!t on a stick!"

Me:  "Mom!"

Mom:  "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of!  Ironing jeans!  I'm not like [person whose name others may recognize], ironing [that person's husband]'s jeans because he likes a crease in them.  That's the dumbest thing ever!  If he were my husband, I'd tell him to go jump in a lake!"

Me:  "You feel very strongly about this."

Mom:  "Hell, yes, I do!  Some things are just stupid.  Ironing jeans is stupid. It's like ironing sheets.  Did you know that [deceased person in our family] used to iron all of the sheets and pillowcases?!  That is sh!tty work.  Fifteen minutes after you get in the bed, they are wrinkled!"

Me:  "I did not know you were this passionate about it.  This is something we have in common: neither of us likes to iron."

Mom:  "Oh no you don't!  I am not like you!  I don't mind ironing stuff that's supposed to be ironed.  Like dress shirts.  Those are easy."

Me:  "They are not easy for me."

Mom:  "There is no reason for that.  You just don't like it."

Me:  "How is that different from you not liking to iron jeans?"

Mom:  "Listen to your mother!  Ironing jeans is dumb and stupid!  Jeans are jeans.  You don't wear them to have stupid little creases in them.  They are jeans.  Ironing dress shirts is a whole different thing.  Any questions?"

Me:  "Well..."

Mom:  "Never mind.  I don't want your questions.  I am right, and ironing jeans is wrong.  I have spoken."

Me:  "I promise never to iron jeans."

Mom:  "That's a good girl."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Shelfies, Part 1

Hello, lovely readers!  What a beautiful spring day it is today! How I would love to be outside, relaxing with a book and sneezing due to my persistent allergies on this fine day!  However, I must teach and grade and attend committee meetings because I am a Responsible Adult and not some kind of anarchist.


Anyway, I decided that today is the day that I will upload my shelfies.  Now, many of you, precious readers, are inundated with the hated selfies posted by narcissistic facebook addicts wonderful friends and colleagues, but you may not know that academics, in all of our adorable craziness, have responded to this trend by posting shelfies, photos of our beloved bookshelves. 

Because posting photos that show that we are deep intellectuals who read and read and read is not narcissistic at all, of course.

So here is Part I:  my Office Shelfies

Ancient Texts Guarded by a Tribble and a Bat!

Old English Literature with Pottery and Rune-napkins

Medieval lit and Holy Grail ale
My Sonic Screwdrivers obviously belong with Arthurian lit
18th c. Lit Gets Its Own Teapot
SF for Darth Tater, but Dragon Likes Sports Fiction
The Multi-Level Window Shelf!
The Compact OED:  Too Big for Its Shelves