Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day is here


My best rather unexpected present this year was a Fiat 500 Pop in Verde Azzurro. My beloved Scion, which had more than 149,000 miles, had had the "check engine" light on for a while so my husband took it to a nearby mechanic here in Bexley, after our mechanic in my college town couldn't figure out what was wrong. The second mechanic found several things that needed to be fixed and that would've cost near $1500. Thus, we decided, given the age of the car and the fact that it needed major repairs, that it was time to consider a new car.

Still, I wasn't excited at all about paying $20,000+ for a car of any kind (makes me uncomfortable to spend that much money on a piece of metal, even if it is the piece of metal that makes it possible for me to work an hour away from home), or with the prospect of having a huge monthly payment for three years. Still, last Sunday we went to test drive a Ford Fiesta, which seemed like it had what I wanted (hatch, 5-speed manual transmission, bluetooth, etc.) but the dealer didn't have the right color or a stick-shift model of the hatchback on the lot.  Thus, we moved on to the Scion dealer where I bought my erstwhile car in 2006, even though it was closed that day. There I looked at the Scion iM, which has my initials, as my husband pointed out, but it seemed too large for me and, again, expensive.

My husband wandered over to the Fiat dealer next door and saw this pre-owned, and pre-certified car for $12,900, with about 850 miles on it. That seemed like a good deal so we returned the next morning, test drove the car, and by 1 p.m. I was the proud owner of this cute car for a flat $12,000, including my old car as a trade-in. Gotta say I was impressed with my husband's negotiating skills, and with the Bob Boyd Alpha-Romeo and Fiat dealer. I love my new year-old car and, best of all, we didn't have to get into debt to pay for it.

Thankfully, I've had this week and next off from work, which means I've been able to spend every day and night at home, something that has become a rarity since July, when I started my administrative job (this past semester, I spent 41 nights [or more than a month!] over in my small apartment by the College. I've definitely loved being here in Bexley for a whole week and look forward to the same next week. In this time, I've been able to send off my revised chapter for an edited collection on Atlantic Studies that will be published next year. I've also been working on my book manuscript, which I have promised myself I'm finishing over the next week or so, come hell or high water.

Yesterday, on Christmas Eve, the weather was so mild that we took Lizzy for a walk on nearby trails of Three Creeks Metro Park, one of our favorites.



This morning, I went to the Christmas Day service at the nearby Episcopal Church and the rector, a woman, remembered me from having attended her Easter service a few year's ago. She even remembered I was a college professor. The sermon was lovely, as was the service, and now I'm back home to spend this Christmas Day doing a little bit of book work and enjoying a little bit of R&R.

I hope you all have had a lovely holiday!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December arrives




Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving in Cordova, TN!

Traveling 1200+ miles to be with family in Thanksgiving was totally worth it! Priceless time spent together and lovely memories to last a lifetime.














Saturday, November 14, 2015

November sunset


This has been, by far, one of the mildest and most beautiful falls I remember since we arrived in Ohio 14 years ago. Today, the weather was good and warm for November so we took Lizzy with us to one of our favorite metro parks and walked around Turtle Pond as the sun was setting.

I like that it's light when I leave the house early in the mornings when I commute to my small college on the hill, but I hate the darkness that now falls shortly after 5:30 p.m. I know that the days are quickly growing shorter as we move toward December so I have more of this darkness to contend with until the days begin to inch toward more daylight in the new year.

It's almost unbelievable to think that we're already only weeks away from 2016! I don't know if it's a function of growing older but it sure feels like time moves so much faster these days.

In the meantime, I'm really enjoying my new job as Associate Provost and learning so much about higher ed administration, and I'm looking forward to teaching my American Fear class next semester with a reduced number of students (though keeping my own list means I've already inadvertently let in 17 students instead of the 15 at which the department chair and I set the limit).

My book manuscript is on hold since I haven't had any time to go back to it, but I plan to do so in every chance I get from now until Dec. 31st, when I plan to send the revised "Monster" (as I used to call my dissertation) back to the editor. I'm really looking forward to a 2016 without this manuscript hanging over me like the fated albatross of Coleridge's poem...

Still, I've managed to produce one chapter for a collection on the "Southern Gothic," which was accepted and is scheduled to be published this year, and another one of the "Queer Atlantic" that gave me the chance to stretch my wings into queer theory, something that is a new area for me. We'll see what the editors of that second piece say.

Looking forward to a break over Thanksgiving and for the chance to see my family but already, and always, so thankful for everything.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Saturday happenings

Chiquita in her favorite place (my lap) and Hester (the feral cat who lives on our porch) letting me know she wants a late afternoon snack.
via IFTTT

Last of the fall

Unfortunately, it was overcast when I took the photo, but this tree in my neighborhood is one of the most beautiful pleasures of late fall
via IFTTT

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The best way to celebrate 54!

It took me nearly 13 years since I first started saying I wanted to go there, but we finally got to spend a few glorious days at the Red Mountain Resort in Saint George, Utah, and it was worth every penny. I first heard of the resort when I started my Ph.D. program in Ohio back in 2002, and I first learned about the concept of spa resorts. I don't know why, but this place stuck in my mind all these years and when my husband asked if this wasn't the year to finally make it come true (after my job promotion this past summer), I had to agree it was.

So off we went, with a view of my celebrating my 54th birthday there. He flew to California, borrowed a bike to test and review, and met me in the Las Vegas Airport on Wednesday so we could ride the motorcycle to Ivins, Utah, where the resort is located. When I first met my husband, my suggestion of "an adventure" was to drive to the south-western shore of Puerto Rico to dine at a fancy hotel (which has now, unfortunately, gone bankrupt). My husband likes to tell that story to illustrate how our definitions of adventure were way off. But I think they were pretty well synced this past week.

The ride from Las Vegas to Utah is nothing short of an adventure. There are miles and miles of empty, scraggly desert and impressive rock mountains to view, and then we get to Arizona and pass the stunning Virgin River Gorge, which is simply breathtaking. There were no opportunities to take photographs there but I found this YouTube video online that at least gives you an idea of what I'm talking about. Mute it first because the song is annoying and totally unrelated to the view.


Once in Utah, we made it to the Red Mountain Resort, and quickly discovered the why of its name. The place is a health resort where there are lots of activities (hikes, horseback riding, yoga, etc.) that can be chosen. We chose to hike on our own through their lovely "Imagination Trail," and a little of the nearby Snow Canyon open trails but, mostly, we took it easy. And it was just what the doctor ordered.











On Friday, we got more ambitious and biked over to Zion National Park, which is spellbinding. Its original name, Mukuntuweap National Park, was changed in 1919 to Zion, which definitely doesn't do it justice.





The last morning came way too soon but we will not soon forget what a special time we had among the red mountains. In their honor, I composed a very short attempt at a poem:

Red Mountains:
Nature's Monuments.
Immortal Watchers, who,
Sphinx-like,
pity our fated transience.

imga 10/31/15