Sunday, November 12

She's Crafty

I've just discovered my new favorite web-site. I hesitate to post it here, as I feel certain that everyone will tell me, "Oh, you're just finding out about this? I've been going there for ages." But if you haven't already, check out It's a buy and sell site for all sorts of hand-crafted items. I love this site for two reasons: 1) The stuff for sale there is just so darned cool and 2) I really like the idea of supporting individual craftspeople rather than large corporations. So check it out! I know I'll be doing a lot of holiday shopping there!

Saturday, November 11

Friday Night Geeks

Okay, I missed a day. My computer time is currently limited since I have to share Ian's PC, and I spent all my internet time last night on a very silly endeavor rather than writing a blog entry. Mea Culpa. Now that Ian has a job with normal hours (meaning he has Friday nights off), we went to our local game store's open gaming night to have loads of fun with our fellow gamer geeks. One of the guys we gamed with informed us that his entire game collection was on Board Game Geek, and that we could, in the future, peruse his collection om-line and send him requests for what games to bring in the future. Well, one of my favorite compulsions is categorizing things in an organized manner, so the thought of listing all our games on-line was irresistible. So instead of being a good blogger, I came home and spent three hours cataloging our game collection.

The new List of Ian and Tracy's Games has pictures and links to descriptions and ratings of each of our one hundred seventeen games. Yes, you heard right...117. And that only counts our board and card games, not any of the hundreds of role-playing books that Ian owns. The reason I'm showing this off is not to brag--for certainly there's nothing brag-worthy in being such enormous geeks--but because this way if you are ever coming over to our house, you can peruse our games ahead of time and decide what you want to play. In this way we avoid the inevitable standing in front of the game closet going, "What are we going to play? So many choices..."

Okay, and maybe I just want to brag a little...mock us if you will.

Thursday, November 9

As Klymaxx so Eloquently Put it...

IIIIIIII miiiiiiss yoooooooou!
(I mi-hiss you-hoo)

There's no other way to say it,
and I-ya-I, I can't deny it!

IIIIIII miiiiiiss yooooooou!
(I mi-hiss you-hoo)

It's so easy to seeeeeeee...

I miss you and meeeeeeeee-heeeeeeee!

You better call me soon, Comp USA! Or at least allow visiting hours!

Wednesday, November 8

The Second Smile Almost Caught on Film

So I'm sitting here with my baby, gleefully, as CNN announces the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, and Matilda starts grinning. I am so proud of her that I immediately grab my camera, but before I could get a picture of that beautiful smile, President Bush appears on screen to start his press conference...

The First Smile Caught on Film

According to the baby books, Matilda was supposed to start smiling last week. She didn't. I was really beginning to worry that Ian's grumpy nature is genetic and that my baby would never smile, and then she started grinning this weekend. What bliss! I love to see her smile. For one, it's just so cute. For another, it is so satisfying to see actual human emotions on my baby's face. Until now her only two emotions have been crying and not crying. Now I can see what actually makes her happy. I finally caught that big gummy grin on film last night. Here is Matilda happy:
I'd like to say that this smile was inspired when Matilda found out that the Democrats took back Congress, but that would be a fib. We were sitting at Borders and M. was sitting in Daddy's lap while he read some big coffee table comic book. He turned the page to a picture of Wonder Woman, and this was her reaction. I could not imagine anything more appropriate than my mighty battle maiden loving Wonder Woman. I love this.

Tuesday, November 7

The Best Tuesday of the Year

I don't know where my love of politics stemmed from--my parents certainly didn't instill in me my sense of civic duty. But even so, I can clearly remember election night, 1984, and how I sat glued to the television, feverishly anticipating the results. I will let you in on one of my most terrible secrets--so terrible, that I don't even know if I've ever told anyone in my life. This will be a true true confession for my blog--a glimpse into the darkest recesses of my soul.

I supported Reagan.

Oh, god--that was hard to type. Yes, at the tender age of 11 I truly believed that if Walter Mondale won the presidency, my entire world would sink into chaos. My only excuse is that like most children, I was vehemently opposed to change, and because Ronald Reagan was president, he should stay president--a child's logic, perhaps, but that was the extent of my political philosophy at the time.

That was my earliest memory of politics. As a teenager, this seemingly inherent interest in politics was fed by the political activism of my church youth organizations. Add to that a youth leadership conference I attended in Washington D.C. my junior year, and then throw in a most amazing government teacher my senior year, and by the time I turned 18 I was one of the most civic-minded young women you could imagine. I registered to vote on my 18th birthday, but an election didn't roll around for another year-and-a-half, so by the time I entered my polling place in 1992 (I was first in line when the Elk's Lodge opened), I was utterly giddy with anticipation. Of course, by then my pre-pubescent flirtation with Republicanism was over, and I voted for Clinton.

Since that day, I have voted in every election but one--I was unable to vote for Clinton a second time in 1996 because I was living in Scotland. I have watched every presidential and vice-presidential debate. And every election day I am glued to the TV or radio, just like I was in 1984, to hear the results.

And then today I almost didn't vote.

I forgot to change our address when we moved, and I thought that we wouldn't be able to vote. I decided that it was no big deal...after all, I just had a baby and surely our forefathers would forgive me this one oversight? So I went to bed last night accepting my non-participation this year. But when I woke up this morning, I knew that I had to vote. I had to. I remembered how much I loved to see when people brought their kids with them to vote, and how I always swore that if I ever had kids I would do the same. I imagined Thomas Jefferson shaking his head in disappointment. I had to take Matilda to vote! So this afternoon, Ian and I took the baby and went to our old polling place, hoping that since we never changed our address we were still on file there.

And we were. Thank God.

It didn't matter that I hadn't researched every candidate because I just voted a straight party ticket. Technically, I'm an independent voter, but I've developed such an intense animosity towards Republicans the past few years that it just feels so good to punch "Democrat" every time, regardless of whose name appears above it. It's like my own personal "fuck you" to the president and to the Republican-controlled congress. That's why I have to vote. No matter how much I disagree with the current administration, I always have the right and the privelege to vote for change. That is what is great about being an's not a ribbon magnet on the car or saying the pledge of allegiance or setting off fireworks on Independence's that 5 minutes we spend for one Tuesday a year in a polling booth.

No, this is not the line to The Jungle Cruise; this is our polling place

Matilda helps Daddy vote

Whew! It's exhausting to perform my civic duty!

Monday, November 6

Elephant & Donkey

Matilda's favorite game is Elephant and Donkey. When I set up her baby gym, I realized that two of the toys we had to hang on it were an elephant and an ambiguous four-legged creature that could be a cow or a horse, but whom I decided to call Donkey. So, appropriately enough, I hung Elephant on Matilda's right and Donkey on her left. When we lie her under her gym we rattle each of them, introduce them to her ("Hello, Matilda! I'm Elephant! And I'm Donkey!") And then we see whether she looks right or left, rattles Elephant or Donkey. In this way, we try to discern our infant daughter's political leanings. Inevitably, she will favor one one day and the other the next. Sometimes, she grabs hold of both of them and shakes them vigorously in her own baby admonition of the futility of the two-party system.

We can leave her there for ages. She loves to have conversations with Elephant and Donkey, and I love to imagine what her coos and shrieks and gurgles must mean. "Elephant, I'm very disappointed with the Republican response to the Foley scandal," or "Donkey, when will the Democrats grow a pair?" And so on.

I think we will register her as an Independent.

Sunday, November 5

Why Did We Even Bother Naming Her?

Things I call my daughter:

Baby, Baby Girl, Sweetie, Sweet Pea, Peanut, Pee-Wee, Wee One, Ratling, Fussy, Fuss Butt, Stink Butt, Poopy Pants, Little Miss Poopy Pants, Piglet, Punk, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Butt, My Darling, My Bairn, Honey, Sugar, Flower, Petal, Pouty Face, Smiley Girl, Munchkin, Mighty Battle Baby, and Twitch

Things I don't call my daughter:

Tilda, Tillie, Tildy, MJ

Things I only call my daughter when she's bad:

Matilda, Matilda Jean

Sad Mac

Oh woe. My Mac is sick.

You PC users may think, "So? Computers get sick." But you silly PC-ers don't understand how it feels to have a dependable computer. When you trust something so implicitly, it feels like a personal betrayal for it to break down. I've never had any problems with any one of the 5 Macs I've owned in my life. And now this.

Anyone who has been a Mac person for any length of time understands that owning a Mac is the closest anyone will get to having a relationship with a machine until scientists create the race of slave robots who will eventually take over the world. And like in any good friendship, when your Mac is sad, you are sad. Sending your Mac in for repairs is downright depressing. But my beautiful iMac has betrayed has started randomly shutting down for no reason at error message, no funny noises, no just shuts off and then won't restart for at least 10 minutes. It is in this way that I have lost many blog entries mid-composition. It is in this way that I have fallen behind in my Nablopomo responsibilities. So now I am on Ian's PC (blech!) in order to get these blogs going. It's just not the same, though, without my Mac.

Get well soon, little Mac. Get well soon.

Friday, November 3

Confessions of a Professional Proofreader

Recently, my friend and fellow blogger Doug has been posting photographs of grammar errors he finds while out and about (see here and here). Maybe it's an English major thing, but I find this to be a completely normal and necessary practice. The world would be a better place if more people took care with their grammar. Now I, too, have started photographing annoying errors when I see them. It gives me a sense of validation (and, I suppose, smug superiority) not only to identify these errors, but to record them and expose them in all their wrongful glory. Here are two that I've found in the last week:

Okay, how does one pronounce this word? "Spe-kyle?" "Spe-kale?" And, more importantly, I'm sure that somebody at this restaurant has realized this error, yet they leave it there as though it doesn't matter. Don't they have paint thinner? A scraper? Anything? I know that not everyone is as OCD as I am, but really! Have some pride! This is a business! Frankly, I worry about eating a $5 lunch speCIAL prepared by somebody who can't even bother to correct their window! Jeesh!

On to a more subtle but no less annoying error:

It may take you a minute...... Got it yet?

This error is especially egregious because the improper use of "'til" is one of my greatest pet peeves, and I long ago made the correct use of apostrophes my own personal grammar crusade in my classroom. (Along with the proper use of the word "literally," but I'll save that for another post.) I am constantly circling the word "till" on my students papers. The word is UNTIL or 'TIL! To be fair, Fox does use the correct form of 'til for the show itself; it is only the local affiliate that makes the error. They also advertise That '70s Show as That 70's Show. (By the way, television shows are italicized, NOT put in quotations.) So, for the benefit of everyone, here is the rule: An apostrophe indicates that something is missing, as in until or 1970s. Now you know. Don't you feel better? I do.

P.S. I know that this post claims to be posted on 11/3, making it seem as though I've already missed a day for Nablopomo, but I write late at night, and it's not my fault if Blogger doesn't recognize 12:30 at night as still being 11/2.

Wednesday, November 1


November has been declared National Blog Posting Month by several hundred bloggers, and I, like a loon, have signed on to participate. This means that I have bound myself by blood-oath (OK, not really, but I'm telling myself that for motivational purposes) to post every single day for the entire month. (Thank God it's only one of those 30-day months!) Today I'm beginning with this entry, as well as posting several back-saved drafts that I have been trying to get finished for about two weeks.

Today also marks some other changes to the blog. You may have noticed already that I have changed the template and title of the blog. I have done this because I want to change my approach to this project in general. So far I have been using the blog as a venue for posting stories and information about my pregnancy and for posting pictures of Matilda. I am now broadening the scope of the blog to include my thoughts and ramblings on other subjects as well. Of course, there will still be plenty of pictures of the baby (I need to keep up my readership, after all), but, believe it or not, there's more going on inside this brain than just baby stuff. That's something I need to keep reminding myself both as a writer and a mother--I am more than just a baby-wrangler--I am still a thinking, opinionated woman who has stuff to say apart from how many poopy diapers I change a day or how much weight the baby is gaining. Also, it's become easy to forget the fact that I am a writer who teaches writing for a living. I haven't written a whole lot lately, and that needs to change, lest my skills get all fat and lethargic from my slothful habits.

In honor of this change, I have renamed the blog "Whim." The title and the quote below it are both from one of my favorite pieces of writing, Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Self-Reliance." If you haven't read this essay, you should. If you have, read it again.

Wish me luck, and I'll talk at you tomorrow.